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The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announce Team of Excellence

by | Oct 8, 2019 | Football Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 8, 2019) – As college football celebrates its 150th season in 2019, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame today announced its Team of Excellence, highlighting all NFF board members who played football and have gone on to success in life.

“From College Football Hall of Fame inductees to successful business leaders and athletics directors to broadcasters, the National Football Foundation’s board of directors includes some of the most powerful people in the country,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “By highlighting the members of our board who played football and have gone on to great success in their chosen fields, we hope to showcase the impact the game has had over 150 years in shaping some of our nation’s greatest leaders.

“The Team of Excellence featuring our board members creates an impressive depth chart of talent that could go the distance against any football team out there. When your top three quarterbacks are Archie Manning, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, you know you have a loaded roster, and it just continues on from there.”

The Team of Excellence is just one part of the NFF’s plans to celebrate the anniversary. Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, the NFF is highlighting throughout the season its 72-year history of using the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

NFF Chairman Archie Manning serves as the honorary captain of the Team of Excellence, which features 10 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, 13 business executives, eight current or former athletics directors, five current or former broadcasters, two owners of NFL teams, the commissioner of the NFL, the commissioner of the ACC and the head football coach at Northwestern.

National Football Foundation Team of Excellence Depth Chart

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver
– Archie Manning* – Archie Griffin* – Lynn Swann*
– Roger Staubach* – Bill Emerson – Thom Gatewood*
– Troy Aikman* – Kevin Plank – Ray Anderson
– John Swofford – Robert Kraft – Bill Battle
– Gene DeFilippo – Roger Goodell – Jack Lengyel
– Kevin Clifford
– Roger Goodell Tight End
– Rod West
Offensive Line Linebacker Defensive Back
– Lincoln Kennedy* – Pat Fitzgerald* – Ronnie Lott*
– Jerry Jones – Barry Alvarez – Rick George
– Jeff Immelt – Corby Robertson – Jack Ford
– George Pyne – Rod West – Bill Emerson
– Jack Lengyel
Defensive Line Special Teams – Joe Castiglione
– Carl Allegretti – Kevin Plank – Roger Goodell
– Bill Emerson
Kick/Punt Returner
– Ray Anderson
Head Coaches
– Barry Alvarez*
– Pat Fitzgerald
– Jack Lengyel
– Bill Battle

* College Football Hall of Fame Inductee

National Football Foundation Team of Excellence Bios

Archie Manning (Mississippi) – Team Captain
An All-America quarterback and Sugar Bowl MVP at Ole Miss, a Pro Bowl player with the New Orleans Saints and a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Manning charted a successful post-football career, including roles as an investment broker, broadcaster, restaurateur, endorser, community leader and philanthropist. The NFF honored him with its highest honor, the Gold Medal, in 2016. NFF Chairman since 2007 and NFF Board since 1993.

Troy Aikman (UCLA)
A College and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Aikman starred at UCLA and guided the Bruins to a top 10 finish in 1988 before going on to lead the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories. He has served as FOX NFL’s lead game analyst since 2002, and he has given his time to many charities, including The United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas. NFF Board Member since 2010.

Carl Allegretti (Butler)
A defensive lineman at Butler, Allegretti currently serves as Managing Partner of Deloitte’s Chicago practice after previously working as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Tax LLP. He regularly speaks at professional forums and on college campuses about leadership, trends transforming the marketplace and tax issues. NFF Board Member since 2019.

Barry Alvarez (Nebraska)
Alvarez was the leading tackler for the 1967 Cornhuskers, who led the nation in total defense and created a school-record 40 turnovers. A linebacker, Alvarez played in both the Sugar and Orange Bowls at Nebraska. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach following his successful tenure at Wisconsin, where he became the first coach in Big Ten history to win Rose Bowls in back-to-back seasons. He currently serves as the Badgers’ director of athletics. NFF Board Member since 2019.

Ray Anderson (Stanford)
Anderson lettered three seasons for the Cardinal and was the team’s leading kick and punt returner during his junior and senior seasons while also playing wide receiver. He has served as Arizona State’s vice president for university athletics and athletics director since 2014 after leadership positions with the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons and his own sports agency. NFF Board Member since 2015.

Bill Battle (Alabama)
Battle leveraged his experiences as an Academic All-SEC end for College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama and as a head coach at Tennessee to build the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) into a major force in the $4 billion collegiate merchandise market (now under Learfield IMG College). The recipient of the 2008 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award also served as athletics director at Alabama. NFF Board Member since 2010.

Joe Castiglione (Maryland)
A former walk-on safety at Maryland who was a member of the Terrapins’ Hall of Fame Bowl team, Castiglione helped re-establish Oklahoma as a football powerhouse after taking over as the Sooners’ athletics director in 1998. He hired Bob Stoops as head coach, which led to a national championship following the 2000 season, and he has overseen successful renovations and fundraising across the athletics department. The 2013 NFF Toner Award recipient also served as Missouri’s athletics director. NFF Board Member since 2003.

Kevin Clifford (Wabash [IN])
A three-year letterman at quarterback for the Wabash football team, Clifford went on to a successful career before retiring as Chairman and CEO of American Funds Distributors, a mutual fund subsidiary of Capital Group. Clifford began working at the Capital Group shortly after graduating from Wabash, and rose to president of American Funds Distributors in 1998 before becoming CEO in 2002. NFF Board Member since 2015.

Gene DeFilippo (Springfield [MA])
A quarterback for the Pride, DeFilippo ranks in the top 10 in multiple Springfield passing categories, and he is tied for the single-game completion record. He worked as an assistant football coach at Tennessee, Youngstown State and Vanderbilt; associate athletics director at Kentucky; and athletics director at South Carolina Upstate, Villanova and Boston College. He currently serves as Managing Director at Turnkey College Search. NFF Board Member since 2003.

Bill Emerson (Penn State)
A running back and defensive back for the Nittany Lions, Emerson was a member of Penn State’s 1982 national championship squad and served as a team captain in 1984. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest mortgage lender. He joined Quicken Loans in 1993 and served as CEO for 15 years before becoming vice chairman. NFF Board Member since 2018.

Bob Epling (Furman)
A tackle for the Paladin football team, Epling enjoyed a successful career for more than 40 years before retiring as president of Community Bank of Florida. His efforts over the years helped raise more than $1 million to give back to his community. He is also a past president and longtime member of the Orange Bowl Committee. NFF Board Member since 2010.

Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
The only two-time winner of both the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards, Fitzgerald led the Wildcats to their first Rose Bowl in 47 years. The two-time consensus First Team All-America linebacker is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Since 2006, he has served as head football coach at his alma mater with great success. In 2018, he coached Northwestern to the Big Ten West Division title, and he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. NFF Board Member since 2018.

Jack Ford (Yale)
A three-year defensive back at Yale, Ford has had a long career in the legal and media fields. After earning his law degree from Fordham University, he worked as a lawyer before becoming a legal correspondent, anchor and host on various networks, including CBS, Court TV, ABC, ESPN, NBC and PBS. He is the co-founder and chief anchor of the American Education Television Network, a visiting lecturer at Yale, a documentary film producer and an author. NFF Vice Chairman since 2017 and NFF Board Member since 2000.

Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame)
The first African-American captain in Notre Dame history, Gatewood was a record-setting, consensus First Team All-America split end for the Fighting Irish. He is one of just 38 players to be honored as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete and College Football Hall of Fame inductee. He played two seasons in the NFL before working as director and stage manager for ABC News and ABC Sports, receiving both an Emmy and Peabody Award. He currently is the owner and president of Blue Atlas Productions. NFF Board Member since 2016.

Rick George (Illinois)
A four-year cornerback for the Fighting Illini, George played in 44 straight games at Illinois. Serving as athletics director at the University of Colorado since 2013, his successful career in athletics has included stints in football operations at Illinois, Colorado and Vanderbilt; president and CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation; and executive positions with the PGA Tour and the Texas Rangers. NFF Board Member since 2019.

Roger Goodell (Washington & Jefferson [PA])
A captain of his high school football team, Goodell played running back, defensive back and quarterback and planned to play football at Washington & Jefferson before an injury. Goodell embodies the sports league equivalent of working one’s way up from the mailroom, having reached the position of NFL commissioner in 2006 after starting with the league as an administrative intern in 1982. The NFF presented him with the Gold Medal, its highest honor, in 2013. NFF Board Member since 2015.

Archie Griffin (Ohio State)
The only player to win the Heisman Trophy twice, Griffin was a three-time All-America running back for the Buckeyes and entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. His mark of 31 consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards remains an NCAA record, and his career rushing yards still rank in the top 15 in FBS history. After a seven-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals, Griffin worked for his alma mater in the athletics department and as president and CEO of the school’s alumni association. NFF Board Member since 2006.

Jeff Immelt (Dartmouth)
An offensive tackle on the Dartmouth football team, Immelt has been instrumental in helping launch the NFF’s Football Matters® campaign and the Congressional College Football Caucus. Currently a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates, he began working for General Electric in 1982, and he served as the company’s chairman & CEO from 2001-17. He was honored with an NFF Legacy Award in 2016. NFF Vice Chairman since 2017 and Board Member since 2012.

Jerry Jones (Arkansas)
A co-captain and offensive lineman on the 1964 National Champion Arkansas Razorbacks, Jones is currently the owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. He bought the team in 1989 and put together teams that won the Super Bowl following the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and an inaugural inductee into the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, Jones has left a lasting impact on the NFL as a whole and the Dallas community. NFF Board Member since 2013.

Lincoln Kennedy (Washington)
A unanimous First Team All-America offensive lineman and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Kennedy led Washington to three consecutive Rose Bowls and a perfect 12-0 national championship season in 1991. He spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. He is currently a broadcaster doing color commentary for the Oakland Raiders Radio Network, serving as an analyst on the Pac-12 Networks and hosting a show on FOX Sports Radio. NFF Board Member since 2018.

Robert Kraft (Columbia)
A running back and safety on Columbia’s sprint football team, Kraft has turned the New England Patriots into one of the most dominant franchises in sports. Since he purchased the team in 1994, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls and 10 AFC championships. He is also chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with assets in paper and packaging, real estate development and private equity. NFF Board Member since 2008.

Jack Lengyel (Akron)
A three-year letterman for the Zips as a wingback and halfback, Lengyel became a leader in coaching and university administration for over 30 years. He served as a head coach for 18 years at all three NCAA levels in multiple sports, most notably taking over as head football coach at Marshall in 1971 after a fatal plane crash devastated the program. He served as athletics director at Fresno State, Missouri and Navy, and returned in interim capacities at Temple, Eastern Kentucky and Colorado. He has been honored with both the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award and the NFF Toner Award. NFF Board Member since 1990.

Ronnie Lott (USC)
A unanimous First Team All-America defensive back and team captain for the Trojans in 1980, Lott helped the team to a national title in 1978. The College and Pro Football Hall of Famer went to 10 Pro Bowls and won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, he served as a broadcaster, inspired the Lott IMPACT Trophy and currently serves as managing director of Lott Auto Ventures. NFF Board Member since 2009.

Kevin Plank (Maryland)
A former walk-on at Maryland, Plank lettered four years for the Terrapins and served as the special teams captain. It was during his time at Maryland, he had the idea for a T-shirt that wicked sweat and kept athletes cool. He launched Under Armour in 1996 and continues to serve as chairman and CEO of the successful athletics brand that outfits colleges, universities and some of the biggest names in sports. NFF Board Member since 2008.

George Pyne (Brown)
Pyne attended Brown University where he served as captain of the football team and earned All-Ivy League and All-New England honors as an offensive lineman. An inaugural inductee into the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, he is the founder and CEO of Bruin Sports Capital. He previously served as president of sports and entertainment at IMG Worldwide, COO at NASCAR and executive director at AMC Events. NFF Board Member since 2009.

Corby Robertson (Texas)
Robertson was an All-America linebacker at Texas who captained the Longhorns to a victory in the 1969 Cotton Bowl. He currently serves as Managing Partner and Principal at Quintana Capital Group, a private equity and venture capital firm in Houston. A member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Robertson has given back through his work with the Cullen Trust for Higher Education. NFF Board Member since 2014.

Roger Staubach (Navy)
Staubach received the 1963 Heisman Trophy and earned unanimous First Team All-America honors while leading Navy to the No. 2 national ranking and Cotton Bowl berth. After serving in Vietnam, he returned to quarterback the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories. A member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, he embarked on a highly successful real estate career after the NFL, and he currently serves as Chairman & CEO of 15 Partners. He was honored with the NFF Gold Medal in 2007. NFF Board Member since 2011.

Lynn Swann (USC)
A consensus First Team All-America wide receiver for the Trojans, Swann helped lead USC to an undefeated national championship season in 1972. A College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, he won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He served as the athletics director at USC from 2016-19 after working as a broadcaster for ABC for 30 years and as a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Power arena football team. He also served as the Chairman of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. NFF Board Member since 2011.

John Swofford (North Carolina)
Swofford started at quarterback for the Tar Heels for two seasons before finishing his career as a defensive back for UNC’s 1971 ACC Championship team. He served as athletics director at North Carolina for 17 years before becoming the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1997. Now in his 22nd year in the position, he played a key role in the evolution of the College Football Playoff and partnered with ESPN to launch the upcoming ACC Network. He accepted an NFF Legacy Award on behalf of the ACC in 2007. NFF Board Member since 2016.

Rod West (Notre Dame)
West lettered three years at Notre Dame, playing tight end on the 1988 national championship team while also appearing as a linebacker. In 1999, he joined Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company headquartered in New Orleans, and he has served as group president, utility operations, at the company since 2016. A member of the Sugar Bowl Committee since 1995, he served as Sugar Bowl President for the 2018-19 year. NFF Board Member since 2013.

Other NFF Activities Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of College Football
150 NFF Facts – A series of historical milestones about the NFF that are being promoted in social media from July 13 to Dec. 10, 2019, the day of the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.

MacArthur Desk Display – A special exhibit at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta featuring the desk of General Douglas MacArthur, an early leader of the NFF, on loan from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner – The NFF will celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football during its Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 and surrounding events at the New York Hilton Midtown. The annual celebration will provide the stage for the induction of the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2019 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments; the bestowing of the 30th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete; and the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, including the NFF Gold Medal to film and television star and former UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon.

30th Presentation of the William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda – As part of CFB150, the NFF will conduct a special look back at the history of the William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, culminating with the 30th presentation of college football’s premier scholar-athlete award at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 at the New York Hilton Midtown.