A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
NFF Names College Grid HOF Class of 2008
This year’s class will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during the Enshrinement Festival, July 18-19, in South Bend, Ind. The six-member class includes black college coaching greats W.C. Gorden (Jackson State 1976-91) and Doug Porter Mississippi Valley State 1961-65, Howard 1974-78, and Fort Valley State (Ga.) 1979-85, 1987-96.
As the winningest coach in Jackson State history, W.C. Gorden established himself as one of the most successful mentors in Football Championship Subdivision annals during his 15-year head coaching career.
During the Gorden era, the Tigers won eight Southwest Athletic Conference titles; made nine trips to the NCAA playoffs; and won a SWAC-record 28 consecutive conference games from 1985-89.
Jackson State also led the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) in game attendance seven times under Gorden’s watch. In 1985, he coached the SWAC all-stars to a 16-14 victory over the Mideastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) team in the third annual Freedom Bowl.
Named conference Coach of the Year six times, Gorden was a 1994 inductee into the SWAC Hall of Fame. The Nashville, Tenn., native was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was the 1997 recipient of the Capital City Classic Humanitarian Award.
After retiring from coaching at JSU, he served as the university’s athletics director for two years and has since become actively involved in community service and governmental affairs. Currently a motivational speaker, Gorden resides in Jackson, Miss.
A fixture in historically black college athletics, Doug Porter forged an indelible coaching and administrative career for more than fifty years.
In 1961, Porter accepted his first head coaching job at Mississippi Valley State, where he turned around a program that had not had a winning season in five years before his third season in 1963. He then served as Eddie Robinson’s assistant at Grambling State for nine seasons and later took the helm at Howard from 1974-78.
After Fort Valley State hired him in 1979, it took Porter only one season to lead the Wildcats to a conference title. He led his teams to six Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and two NCAA playoff appearances. He boasts only five losing seasons in 26 years as a head coach.
The Memphis, Tenn., native and seven-time SIAC Coach of the Year served as Fort Valley’s athletics director for 16 years. He also acted as chairman of the Division II Football Committee and as president of the National Athletic Steering Committee.
Porter returned to Grambling in 1997, becoming an advisor to former GSU coaches Doug Williams (a 2001 player inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame) and Melvin Spears and current coach Rod Broadway. Porter currently assists in the efforts to establish a museum in Hall of Fame Coach Eddie Robinson’s honor.
Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.
With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, Play It Smart, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings.
NOTE: You can learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.