Contact: Jeff McKenzie
Sold Out Black College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
Honors 11 HBCU Legends, Including Walter Payton, Deacon Jones,
Eddie Robinson, Jerry Rice, Tank Younger, Buck Buchanan
February 22, 2010 (Atlanta, GA) – A sold out crowd of more than 300 sponsors and A-list guests gathered on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta to enshrine the Inaugural Class of Inductees for The Black College Football Hall of Fame. Established in 2009 by football pioneer quarterbacks Pro Bowl MVP James "Shack" Harrisand Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, the Atlanta-based Hall of Fame honors the greatest football players and coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Priority Payment Systems Inaugural Enshrinement Ceremony, held in conjunction with Black History Month, inducted a 2010 Class comprised of Buck Buchanan, Coach Jake Gaither, Willie Galimore, Deacon Jones, Willie Lanier, Contributor Bill Nunn, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Coach Eddie Robinson, Ben Stevenson and Tank Younger.
Among those in attendance included ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst Jon Gruden, who served as Master of Ceremonies, plus Atlanta Falcons Owner and President of AMB Group Arthur Blank and Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, both of whom were Honorary Chairmen. Also on hand, representing the Rooney family, was Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, Jr., as well as Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.
“The support we received from not only the Atlanta business community but also from across the U.S. and the National Football League was tremendous,” said Hall of Fame co-founder James “Shack Harris. “We were so proud to have folks like Jon Gruden, Mr. Blank, Ambassador Young, and so many others on hand to help us pay tribute to the legacy of HBCU football, an endeavor long overdue.”
“This is a lifelong dream for James and I, to be able to help ensure that the important contributions that HBCU players and coaches have made to the game of football will be properly recognized and never forgotten,” said co-founder Doug Williams.
Priority Payment Systems was the event’s Title Sponsor, along with Presenting Sponsor King & Spalding LLP and Platinum Sponsors The National Football League, The Four Seasons Hotel and Visual Eye Media. Gold Sponsors included The Atlanta Falcons, One Georgia Bank, HWMCCC and Southern Company. In total, 16 different NFL franchises, as well as NFL Films, supported the event.
A Selection Committee comprised of prominent journalists and football executives chose 35 finalists, from a field of more than 260 nominees, before naming the 11 Inaugural Inductees.
Initially, the Hall of Fame will operate as a traveling exhibit around the City of Atlanta. Details on the Hall of Fame’s first stop are expected to be announced shortly. The Black College Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by The Shack Harris & Doug Williams Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. For more information, visit www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.