NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced that legendary Tennessee State football coach Joe Gilliam, Sr. and defensive end Ricahrd Dent are among the 25 finalists that will be on the ballot for the fifth annual enshrinement. The list includes 20 players, five coaches, and five contributors.
The finalists were selected from a field of more than 125 nominees by an 11 member Selection Committee comprised of prominent journalists, historians and football executives. The committee will meet again in the coming weeks to select the seven members (six players and one coach/contributor) to be inducted as the Class of 2014.
“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame, we would like to congratulate all of the 2014 finalists. With so many deserving nominees, narrowing the list down to 25 finalists is not an easy task for the committee,” explained Roscoe Nance, Chairman of the Selection Committee.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be announced on October 23, 2013. New members will be honored at the Fifth Annual Enshrinement Ceremony, presented by the Atlanta Falcons on March 1, 2014. The event will take place at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia in conjunction with Black College Football weekend.
“The Falcons are once again honored to support the Black College Football Hall of Fame,” said Atlanta Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank. “The history and heroes of Black College Football are stories that must be told.”
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established to honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Each inductee’s college or university will receive a $5,000 grant to support continuing academic and athletic opportunities at their respective institutions.
From 1963-1981, Gilliam was the assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator for Tennessee State University. During this period, Tennessee State University had nine Black National Championships, and four undefeated teams. As an assistant coach under John A. Merritt, Gilliam helped create one of the best defenses in the country.
In 1989, he took the helm as head coach for four seasons and was selected as Coach of the Year in the Ohio Valley Conference in 1990.
Over 80 TSU student-athletes reached the NFL during Gilliam's tutelage.
That list includes Dent who was a three time All-American and is currently third in the school's all-time sack list. While helping to lead the Tigers to three Black college National Champions, Dent finished his career with 39 sacks.
After playing Football at Tennessee State University, Dent was drafted to the Chicago Bears in the eighth round of the 1983 NFL Draft. In 1986, Dent won a NFL championship with the Bears and was named Super Bowl XX MVP. He is also the Only TSU tiger alum to be named game MVP.
Dent was selected for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Feb. 5, 2011. His jersey was also retired by the university earlier this season.
- Emerson Boozer (RB, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1962-1965)
- Robert Brazile (LB, Jackson State University, 1971-1975)
- Roger Brown (OL, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1956-1959)
- Harold Carmichael (WR, Southern University, 1967-1970)
- Richard Dent (DE, Tennessee State University, 1979-1982)
- L.C. Greenwood (DE, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 1965-1968)
- Harold Jackson (WR, Jackson State University, 1965-1968)
- Leroy Kelly (RB, Morgan State University, 1960-1963)
- Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd (DL, Grambling State University, 1957-1960)
- Jethro Pugh (DE, Elizabeth City State University, 1961-1964)
- Donnie Shell (DB, South Carolina State University, 1970-1973)
- John Stallworth (WR, Alabama A&M University, 1970-1973)
- Michael Strahan (DE, Texas Southern University, 1989-1992)
- Ken Riley (QB, Florida A&M University, 1965-1968)
- Willie “Satellite” Totten (QB, Mississippi Valley State University, 1982-1985)
- Otis Taylor (WR, Prairie View A&M University, 1961-1964)
- Emmitt Thomas (QB/DB, Bishop College, 1962-1965)
- Everson Walls (DB, Grambling State University, 1977-1980)
- Doug Wilkerson (OL, North Carolina Central University, 1966-1969)
- Aeneas Williams (CB, Southern University, 1987-1990)
COACH & CONTRIBTUOR FINALISTS
- Marino Casem (Head Coach, Alcorn State University, 1963-1992)
- Joe Gilliam, Sr. (Tennessee State University Defensive Coordinator)
- William Joe (Head Coach, Central State University 1981-1993, Florida A&M 1994-2004)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones (President, Grambling State University, 1936-1977)
- Arnett Mumford (Head Coach, Southern University, 1927-1961)