NEW YORK -- Hail Flutie! The little quarterback who made a
career of proving doubters wrong is now a Hall of Famer.
Doug Flutie was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on
Wednesday in his first year of eligibility, joining Ahmad Rashad
and 10 other players honored by the National Football Foundation.
The 5-foot-10 (barely) Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in 1984 for
Boston College and threw one of the most memorable passes in
college football history. His 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerard
Phelan as time expired gave the Eagles a 47-45 victory over Miami.
The desperation 'Hail Flutie' toss and the sight of him leaping in
the air as he sprinted down field to celebrate with his teammates
has become timeless.
"I guess I did more than just throw one pass," Flutie said
during a news conference at a Manhattan hotel to announce the
newest Hall of Fame class.
Did he ever. Flutie threw for 10,579 yards in his college career
and led BC to a 10-2 record and Cotton Bowl victory during his
"It's my whole life of being the little guy and having a little
chip on my shoulder, from year to year trying to prove myself, and
at the end of the day to be inducted into the College Football Hall
of Fame is a very special honor for me," he said.
Flutie was elected with Rashad, a star receiver and running back
at Oregon, and former Dartmouth linebacker Reggie Williams.
The other new Hall of Famers are: Oklahoma center Tom Brahaney,
Michigan defensive back Dave Brown, Clemson linebacker Jeff Davis,
Texas defensive back Johnnie Johnson, Ohio State quarterback Rex
Kern, Indiana running back Anthony Thompson, Houston defensive
tackle Wilson Whitley, Southern California linebacker Richard Wood
and Notre Dame defensive tackle Chris Zorich.
Herb Deromedi, who won 110 games as coach at Central Michigan
over 13 seasons, also was elected.
The latest class will be inducted at the National Football
Foundation's awards banquet in December and enshrined at the Hall
in South Bend, Ind., during the summer of 2008.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno, elected last year, will be
inducted and enshrined with this year's class. Paterno's induction
was postponed last year because he was still recovering after
breaking his leg during a game against Wisconsin in November.
Flutie was fueled by all those who said he was too small to
succeed. One conversation with an Ohio State assistant coach stands
"He said, 'Let's face it, you're not a Division I quarterback.
You're a good athlete, we might find you a place to play,'"
Flutie said. "I always think back to that."
Flutie again faced doubters in the NFL. He started his pro
career in the USFL and found his greatest professional success in
the CFL, where he was a six-time player of the year. Earlier this
week, Flutie became the first non-Canadian elected to Canada's
Sports Hall of Fame.
While he never became an NFL star, he did become a starter and
ended up playing 12 seasons with four teams. Flutie called his
election to the College Football Hall of Game "the biggest honor
that I've ever received so far in my life."
Rashad was known as Bobby Moore during his college career at
Oregon, where he played running back and wide receiver and was a
three-time all-Pac-8 selection (1969-71). He went on to play 11
seasons in the NFL, his best years with the Minnesota Vikings
"This is sort of the culmination of all the people that you
work with in college," said Rashad, who's had a long and
successful broadcasting career, mostly covering the NBA. "We all
came together at the University of Oregon as 17-, 18-year-old kids
and hopefully left as better, responsible, more mature adults.
Standing here today, I'm representing my college team."
Williams, who still holds the Dartmouth record for unassisted
tackles in a career, is the first black player from the Ivy League
elected to the Hall of Fame.
"You rarely hear the words African-American, athlete and
intelligent in the same sentence, and so for all the great
African-American athletes -- both in the Ivy League and out -- it is
an opportunity to talk about the esteem of a scholar-athlete,"
Williams said. "For kids, the benefits of a great education will
far exceed the intangibles of playing any sport."