The Class of 2018 Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame
By: Dave Michaels: Voice of The Texas Revolution Visit Daves website www.myntsn.com
On Tuesday the 8thof May, 2018, the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association inducted 6 new members into the Hall of Fame, that was held at AT&T Stadium, which is the site for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, and those six members included two legendary coaches, and four players.
The six new members were: John Robinson, former Head Coach of the University of Southern California, Houston Nutt, former Head Coach of both the University of Arkansas and Ole Miss, along with players such as Wallace Triplett from Penn State, the 1948 Classic against SMU, Quentin Coryatt from Texas A&M who was in the 1992 Classic against Florida State, The Oklahoma Sooner, Roy Williams, who was in the 2002 Classic against Arkansas, and the Heisman Trophy winner, Ricky Williams out of the University of Texas.
Each one of the inductees have a story, each one has a memory or two that they shared, but the common thread among all of them, was that, the Cotton Bowl Committee that welcomes the teams, treats them better than most other Bowls, that would include the Granddaddy of them all – the Rose Bowl.
Speaking with the former USC Coach, John Robinson, he said that “they had the best week that I could have ever imagined. The Rose Bowl, (now don’t quote me on this) they don’t treat you that good.” Robinson went on to say that the friendships that were made then are still there today, and even though they have been friends for all these many years, Robinson says, that no one has gotten older.
Houston Nutt brought two teams to the Cotton Bowl, the Razorbacks of Arkansas when they took on the Oklahoma Sooners, only to lose 10-3, then brought his next team to the Classic, the Ole Miss Rebels who closed out the Ol Dame of the Cotton Bowl Stadium against Texas Tech, then opened up AT&T Stadium against Oklahoma State. We spoke to Coach Nutt, and asked him about the distinction of closing the old one and then opening the new stadium and he said that every time he thought about it he “got chills”. It brought back memories about the old stadium where he played and coached in games there, then to come to the new AT&T Stadium to bring in the new era of the Cotton Bowl Classic. Nutt goes on to say that the most important thing that he remembered doing for his team is that, he wanted to bring them into the building and let them practice, and in doing so, be in awe of that 60 yard Video Screen that sits above the field. His goal was for his players to get it out of their system that they are on the big screen and can see every pore of their face, just to get all of that out of their system before they had to take the field against the OSU Cowboys.
Former Penn State running back, Wallace Triplett, from the 1948 Classic, where the Nittany Lions took on the SMU Mustangs, only to lose to the Mustangs on that January day. The House that Doak Built belonged to the defense, as both teams scored only 13 points each to end that classic in a tie. Triplett didn’t make the trip to Arlington, Texas for the induction ceremony, but his daughter and granddaughter represented him, and represent they did well. Both women spoke of Triplett’s humbleness, and that even though he was the first African-Americans ball player to be drafted by the NFL, he was still struck, how the prejudice played around him outside of the world of sports. Triplett’s family said that he barely spoke of his time playing football, both for Penn State as well as for Detroit Lions, where he was picked in the 19thround of the 1949 Draft. Triplett has a room that is enshrined to him in a town just north of Detroit, that has his old number 12, as well as his Army Uniform. Artifacts of a man who loved the game of football, but also knew that after his playing days were over, he needed to be a father and a husband to a family.
The big Linebacker out of Texas A&M, Quentin Coryatt, a man, who after his playing days has a hard time speaking to large crowds of people. You notice this when he is standing in a room, and he starts to experience anxiety. There is nothing particularly unusual about this condition as another famous football player had the same symptoms, and though it initially caused him to be reclusive, he was able to totally overcome it; his name is Earl Campbell. Coryatt, navigated well through the ceremony, but not during the little one-on-one sessions with the media. Seeing him though, reminds you of the days when he played for the Indianapolis Colts and the one year for the Dallas Cowboys. Considering his accolades of being named All Southwest Conference in 1991 for the Aggies, and a College All American that same year, being named to the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame was just a natural for him.
When Oklahoma Sooner, former Dallas Cowboy, and Cincinnati Bengal, Roy Williams, was asked about his fondest memory of his appearance in the Classic, when he went up against Arkansas in 2002. Williams’ response was a little surprising; but then again, not really. He spoke of the visit to the Children’s Hospital, and to the Shriners Hospital, seeing the kids, and brightening up their days, but more so, how the kids encouraged him and the players from both sides of the ball. Williams went on to say that the hospitality of the Cotton Bowl staff was “over the top”. Williams remarked about the gifts that were given to the players, and given that he had been a poor kid growing up, he was quite surprised by the sheer number of gifts. For the most part, Williams says, he still has them, and when he sees them, it reminds him of his time in the New Years Day Classic.
The other Williams who was inducted into the Hall of Fame was the Heisman Trophy Winner for 1998, the running back that broke Tony Dorsett’s College Career Rushing Record, and also found a way during the season to pay homage to the man who claimed to have built the mystique of the Cotton Bowl, Doak Walker the Heisman Trophy Winner from SMU. Ricky Williams was a one-of-a-kind football player.
Recruited out of San Diego by head coach Mac Brown, the running back, Ricky Williams, was a showcase player for the University of Texas during his playing days. Coach Brown talked Ricky into returning to The Forth Acres in Austin for his Senior year, and in doing so, solidified his foundation in the hearts of Longhorn Fans, and also the writers who voted for him to win not just the Heisman, but also the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Doak Walker Award, just to throw out some hardware for his efforts. Williams says that his Cotton Bowl experience was capped off, when he ran for a touchdown against Southern Mississippi on that January 1st1999, cloudy, misty, cold day in Dallas. The touchdown, Ricky says, had to be something special, because he had planned to strike the “Heisman Pose” after he scored. It just so happened, that the run for that TD was a 37-yard scamper and as soon as he hit pay dirt, the pose was struck, the cameras all were there to catch it and make it a scene to remember. What made that run even more special, was the fact that it was 37 yards, and if you think about it, 37 is the number that Doak Walker wore in his football career at the Hill Top known as SMU. Williams’ jersey number 34 was retired by the University along with Earl Campbell’s number 20, the only two Heisman Trophy winners to represent the University of Texas.
The ceremony was hosted by the voice of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Brad Sham. He remarked about the class that was being inducted, of how remarkable each player and coach was to the Classic, and how each one of the inductees could have been a showcase all on their own, but in this particular class, the six that went in were a Class all of their own.
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