Friday, May 1, 2009

College Football Hall of Fame

Yesterday's announcement of the 18 members(16 players, 2 coaches) of the 2009 class of the College Football Hall of Fame brought good news to the people West Virginia and particularly to those of my hometown. Pineville High Alum Curt Warner was among this year's inductees. Curt was a fantastic running back and I was very lucky to be old enough to appreciate how talented he was. It was amazing watching opponents try to devise a scheme with all eleven defenders with the lone goal of stopping him, then seeing him break through or run around them like a man playing against boys. Curt had a great career at Penn State, leading the Nittany Lions to their first National Championship after an undefeated season and victory over Herschel Walker and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 1983, and was on the way to having one in the NFL when he blew out his knee in a game against Cleveland. Curt was a two-time All-American at Penn State. He was a three time NFL All-Pro and gained more than a 1,000 yards in four different seasons for Seattle.
Curt Warner
It was also great to see former WVU Quarterback Major Harris among the selected few. Major was a marvelous talent who combined elusive speed with a strong and accurate arm. It was during his time as quarterback that the West Virginia football program returned to national prominence. Major Harris
Major commanded the Mountaineers to an undefeated season in 1988 and a match up against Notre Dame for the national title in the Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately, Major separated his throwing shoulder on the Mountaineers' third play of the game and we never got to see how the same QB who had brilliantly led the team throughout the season would do against the Fighting Irish as the Mountaineers fell 34-21. Major was selected as an All-American and finished in the top five in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy twice.
Perhaps Major's most memorable game was in Morgantown against long-time heated rival Penn State. The Mountaineers beat Penn State 51-30 with Major outgaining the entire Penn State team 301-292. The run shown below through almost the entire Penn State defense is still one of the foundest Mountaineer gridiron memories.
Major is the sixth Mountaineer to be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Coach Don Nehlen,former WVU halfback Ira Errett Rodgers and tackles Bruce Bosley, Sam Huff and Joe Stydahar.
Congratulations to Curt and Major and to the other members of the Class of 2009.

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