Legendary coaches Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, No. 1 and No. 2 respectively on the all-time Division I-A coaching victories list, were elected into the College Football Hall of Fame today.
The 76-year-old Bowden, who has coached at Samford (1959-62), West Virginia (1970-75) and Florida State (1976-present), leads Div. 1 college coaches with 359 victories. Paterno, who has coached Penn State since 1966, is second with 354 wins.
Bowden's Florida State teams have won two national championships, in 1993 and 1999, and he has 19 bowl victories as a coach, second only to Paterno (21). Paterno, who will turn 80 in December, has coached Penn State to two national championships, in 1982 and 1986. He also coached teams in 1968, 1969, 1973 and 1994 that finished undefeated, but didn't win the national title.
Heisman Trophy Winners, NFL Greats Also in 2006 Class
In addition to Bowden and Paterno, 13 players were also elected to the Hall of Fame, headlined by Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993) and Mike Rozier (Nebraska, 1983). Former Seminoles quarterback Ward guided Florida State to its first national title in 1993 and set the school record for touchdowns in a season with 27. Former Huskers running back Rozier rushed for 2,148 yards in 1983 and is the career rushing leader at the school with 4,780 yards in three seasons.
Florida's Emmitt Smith, who became the NFL's career rushing leader, and Virginia Tech's Bruce Smith, the NFL's all-time sacks leader, are both going into the college Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
The rest of the class is Colorado running back Bobby Anderson, Miami safety Bennie Blades, Minnesota defensive tackle Carl Eller, Washington defensive lineman Steve Emtman, Baylor safety Thomas Everett, Air Force defensive lineman Chad Hennings, Tennessee guard Chip Kell, Purdue quarterback Mike Phipps and Stanford linebacker Jeff Siemon.
They will be inducted by the National Football Foundation in New York in December and enshrined at the Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the summer of 2007.
"We are very pleased to announce the induction of yet another exceptional class of college football hall of famers," Chairman Ron Johnson said. "Each year our hard-working Honors Court, chaired by Gene Corrigan, continues to do an outstanding job in ensuring the game's legends are duly recognized."
Paterno took over at Penn State in 1966 after 16 years as an assistant with the Nittany Lions. The kid from Brooklyn with the thick black-framed glasses and high-water pant cuffs went on to build one of the most successful programs in the country.
His program fell on hard times with four losing seasons from 2000-04, but he orchestrated a remarkable turnaround last year.
Penn State won the Big Ten for the second time and finished 11-1 and ranked No. 3 in the nation. Paterno won AP coach of the year, and the Nittany Lions completed their revival with a triple-overtime victory over Bowden and Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Before Bowden arrived in Tallahassee, the Seminoles had won four games in the previous three seasons. He turned Florida State into a powerhouse by never shying away from the best teams, even if it meant playing on them road.
He led the Seminoles to national titles in '93 and '99, during an unprecedented streak of 14 consecutive seasons finishing in The Associated Press top five.
Ward was an elusive runner and accurate passer who won the Heisman in 1993 and set a school-record with 6,636 career yards of total offense. A multi-sport star, Ward was a first-round draft pick by the New York Knicks and played 11 seasons in the NBA.
Rozier became the second player to run for more than 2,000 yards when he won the Heisman in 1983 and ran for 2,148 yards. He set NCAA records with 29 rushing touchdowns and 179 yards rushing per game that season as part of a Nebraska offense that ranks among the most prolific in college football history.
Emmitt Smith ran for 3,928 yards and 36 touchdowns for the Gators from 1987-89, then was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. He played 15 NFL seasons, breaking Walter Payton's career rushing mark in 2002.
Bruce Smith was an Outland Trophy winner in 1984 as the nation's top interior linemen before being draft first overall by the Buffalo Bills.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.