A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
HBCU Standouts Totten, Lewis To Be Inducted Into College Football Hall Of Fame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Two former black college football standouts, Willie Totten of Mississippi Valley State and Leo Lewis of Lincoln (Mo.) University, are among this year’s class of inductees for the College Football Hall of Fame’s Divisional Hall of Fame Class for 2005, which includes players and coaches from NCAA Divisions I-AA, II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).
“We are pleased to announce the 10th College Football Hall of Fame Divisional Class since the election process expanded in 1996 to include players from all divisions,” said Jon F. Hanson, Chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF).
“The legacy and accomplishments of these remarkable individuals will be celebrated at Enshrinement Festivities at the Hall in South Bend this August.” This year’s class will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Ceremonies at the Hall, August 12-13, in South Bend, Indiana.
A Mississippi Valley State legend and half of one of the greatest quarterback/wide receiver duos in Division I-AA history, Willie “Satellite” Totten passed himself into the all-time national record books and continues to make a difference at the university today.
Becoming Mississippi Valley State’s first College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Totten earned First Team All-America status in 1984 after leading the nation and setting the all-time single-season touchdown passes mark (56) for all divisions.
With 139 career touchdown passes, Totten is Division I-AA’s all-time leader and ranks second in career passing yards (12,711) and single-season passing yards (4,557 in 1984). Owning numerous MVSU passing and total offense records, he twice led the nation in passing efficiency.
Five times in Totten’s career he passed for more than 530 yards in a single game, including a 599-yard performance in 1984 vs. Prairie View – the third best single-game performance in Division I-AA history.
Following a brief professional career in the Canadian and Arena Football Leagues, Totten earned his master’s degree from Grambling before becoming the 14th head football coach in MVSU history in 2001.
“It’s always good to know that people remember your accomplishments when you played. It’s been twenty years, it’s just remarkable”, said Totten. “To be considered by the NCAA College Football Hall of Fame lets me know that I really accomplished something as a student-athlete, it makes me feel very, very good.”
“Valley gave me my start and anytime you can come back and have Mississippi Valley receive national recognition its good”, said Totten. “I love Mississippi Valley. I will always be a part of Mississippi Valley and Mississippi Valley will always be a part of me.”
A dominating running back, Lincoln’s Leo Lewis compiled huge rushing statistics in an era when big numbers by a rusher were uncommon. Leading the Blue Tigers to a 27-5-3 record in his collegiate career, he went on to become one of the greatest professional players in Canadian Football League history.
A two-time First Team All-America selection, Lewis rewrote the Lincoln record books. At 5-foot-10, 185-pounds, he smashed school all-time records for touchdowns in a season (22), touchdowns in a career (64), rushing yards in a season (1,239) and career rushing yards (4,457).
Following graduation in 1954, Lewis was drafted by the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League, but it was in the CFL that he made his greatest mark. In 11 seasons with Winnipeg, he earned All-Pro honors six times solidifying is position among the league’s all-time best and securing him a place in the CFL Hall of Fame.
A very active and devoted community member, Lewis participates in the National Youth Sports Program and is a member of the Mason, Kiwanis and Imperial Clubs. After his playing days ended, he enjoyed short stints as Lincoln’s head football and women’s basketball coach.