Nick Saban: “I’m a great Mark Stoops fan”

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LOUISVILLE — The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted its 2015 class at Brown Theatre over the weekend and also awarded Alabama Football coach Nick Saban with the ninth-annual Blanton Collier Award.

The honor is named after former UK and Cleveland Browns coach Blanton Collier and recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding integrity both on and off the football field.

Saban took a few minutes to speak with the media before accepting the award, sharing his respect for Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops at the improving Wildcat football program.

“I’m a great Mark Stoops fan,” Saban told reporters at Thursday’s induction ceremony, “and I’ve been friends with the family for a long, long time.”

The Crimson Tide’s head coach shares a bond with the Stoops family that extends back to the early 1980s when, as a young assistant at Ohio State, Saban recruited the Youngstown area and developed close friendships with the local high school coaches, including Cardinal Mooney defensive coordinator Ron Stoops — Mark Stoops’ father.

Jacob Tamme earns induction into Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame

031915-NFL-Denver-Broncos-tight-end-Jacob-Tamme-PI-.vadapt.955.high.0Jacob Tamme now has his name etched into Kentucky football history. According to Andrew Hirsh of, Tamme has officially been selected as an inductee to the 2015 Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For the induction, Hirsh points out that Tamme will be inducted on Friday night in Louisville. The pass-catching tight end currently ranks No. 1 in terms of yards by tight ends at the school and his 1,417 receiving yards rank him second in the SEC all-time.
Tamme spoke about the induction with, saying the following:
“The NFL is a special fraternity. It’s a real privilege to be a part of it,” said Tamme, who joined Nick Saban in the 2015 class. “And then to be a part of this fraternity with guys that have a connection to the state of Kentucky… it’s really special to me.”
Congrats to you, Mr. Tamme.

Bubba Paris on WHAS 11


KY Pro Football Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Ceremony

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This year’s inductees include people who’ve played for UK, UofL and EKU say hello to Super Bowl champion Bubba Paris and to Frank Minnifield, who’s on the board of the Hall of Fame. Induction Ceremony June 26th at 7:00pm The Brown Theatre Tickets: $25/Eac

Frank Minnifield: 1988 season – the greatest season by a cornerback in NFL history.

Best NFL Cornerback Tandem Ever: Frank Minnifield & Hanford Dixon! Time to clear up the misreporting of their hand in The Drive.

We have always believed that some of the greatest NFL stories have been left on the cutting room floor when it comes to players that didn’t play for the glamour teams. Such is the case for the best cornerback tandem in modern NFL history. During this offseason of condensed free agency, when it appeared Namedi Asoumgha might wind up with Darelle Revis to form the best conrerback tandem in decades. We had thoughts and images of Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon dancing in our heads.  They were the best tandem in league history and yes better than Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes of the Los Angeles Raiders. Dixon and Minnifield starred and went to Pro Bowls together for 3 seasons. The most in NFL history.

The Hayes / Haynes connection really was half a season, or at least it’s zenith. Alright they did have a good 1985 but what happened in 1984?? Haynes joined the team in week 6 of 1983, and played on through the season but look up the Raiders 1984 statistics on defense after Super Bowl XVIII, abysmal. Case and point Dan Marino threw for his 37th TD to break the all time touchdown record for a season and went on to throw for 470 yards and 4 TDs on them. They got scorched … Mark Clayton almost put up 200 on ’em…yet we digress. No one put yards on these two like that during their years together. Yet they don’t get their just due for being the terrific tandem that they were and should be receiving more looks when it comes to Hall of Fame Consideration.

From 1986-1988 these two Cleveland Browns were your Pro Bowl Starters for the AFC in Honolulu Hawai’i. Understand that this was the heydey of the AFC Central as well. Of course Steeler fans will disagree but this is where the entire division reigned near the top of the AFC as a whole. From 1986-1989 there was an AFC Central team in the AFC Championship Game all four years. The Browns in 1986 and 1987, the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl in 1988 and then the Browns returned in 1989 to the title game.

Throughout the division there were stellar receivers in Louis Lipps / John Stallworth of the Steelers, Ernest Givins, Haywood Jeffires, Drew Hill of the Houston Oilers, then Tim McGhee, Cris Collinsworth, and Eddie Brown (The [[_]]) of the Cincinnati Bengals. Dixon and Minnifield kept them under wraps throughout this era.

In fact, in 1986 the only receivers that topped 100 yards against them was Chris Burkett of the Buffalo Bills and Wes Chandler of the San Diego Chargers. Burkett’s numbers were strengthened by a 75 yard TD while Chandler piled up yards in garbage time during a 47-17 loss where many Browns starters were pulled during the finale. They had wrapped up homefield advantage and were in the midst of a celebration.

In fact during the AFC Divisional Playoff double overtime win against the Jets, in6 quarters, Dixon and Minnifield covered Al Toon and Wesley Walker so tight the Browns produced 9 sacks. Neither receiver went over 100 yards and the touchdown that Wesley Walker scored was on a flea flicker and the safety had coverage.

Frank Minnifield Hanford Dixon

Frank Minnifield Hanford Dixon

In ’86, Dixon gathered in 5 interceptions, while Minnifield picked off 3 on their way to their first Pro Bowl together. Along the way they shut down the prominent receivers in their division, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton, who both made the ’86 Pro Bowl, and future Hall of Famer James Lofton. None of which gained over 100 yards against them and by the way…. Duper (1,313 yds 11TDs) and Clayton (1,150 yds 10TDs) battled Dixon and Minnifield on a Monday Night and these two Browns gained the country’s attention and respect with that performance.

In 1986 Dan Marino threw for 44TDs and over 4,700 yards…so he was at his zenith. This was the second time, going back to the previous season’s 21-20 playoff loss to the Dolphins that they did this to Miami. In the playoff loss in 1985, Duper nevercaught a pass and Mark Clayton only caught one!! And that game was in Miami!!! So they came in with something to prove and got shut down again.

So here comes the most misreported fact in NFL history, The Drive, during the ’86 AFC Championship Game. Keep in mind that Denver only had 216 yards for the game on offense going into that famous last drive. Erroneously and without fact checking these two get blamed for this loss when only 1 pass to Steve Watson at the 2 minute warning at midfield was thrown in their territory. The Brown’s Dave Adolph opted to go into a zone and the main passes thrown by John Elway was a pass over 20 yards to Steve Sewell, a running back going up the seem into Chris Rockins territory.

The other was a pass on 3rd and 17 where Mark Jackson who started on Dixon’s left side cut into an opening on a zone in front of the safety. They were just well executed plays. Throw in 2 scrambles by Elway for first downs because the Browns coverage forced him to and a screen pass to Steve Sewell and they were now at the 5 yard line. Again down in the red-zone, the Browns were in a Nickel zone facing a multiple receiver set. They ran a scissors route and threw the ball inside Nickelback Mark Harper to Mark Jackson for the tying touchdown. Now where was it these two failed to deliver??

Even in overtime on the winning drive by the Broncos the two big plays were a corner route to TE Orson Mobley for over 20 yards and another to Tom Watson for a 22 yard gain where Felix Wright #22 made the tackle in zone coverage. Karlis kicks the winning field goal and Denver was off to the Super Bowl. Yet time and time again, writers and nitwit pundits bring up The Drive without knowing ANY of the evidence. Lionize John Elway, fine, but don’t victimize these excellent players who performed well on that day. Take a look

John Elway’s The Drive 1986 AFC Championship

John Elway’s The Drive 1986 AFC Championship

Who were these two?? Well you had Hanford Dixon, who when he came into the league might have been the fastest cornerback in football.  The Chancellor first caught wind of him when he chased down Buffalo’s Joe Cribbs enroute to a 60 yard touchdown in 1981 as a rookie.  Dixon had been blocked and Cribbs had a 15 yard cushion when this flash of brown and orange tracked him down like Darryl Green on Eric Dickerson. He didn’t prevent the touchdown but he had speed to burn as a young player as that play signified.

Dixon was drafted out of Southern Miss in the 1st round and developed into a top flight man to man cornerback who lined up right in a receivers faces. He was the taller of the two at 5’11 and 186 lbs and was as fluid an athlete that has played corner in the NFL. He could turn and run with anybody that got through his “strike” off the line of scrimmage. He was as effective as a Lester Hayes and had his best year in 1987 when it was recorded that only 7 passes were thrown his way the entire year. He was first team All Pro in 1987 which was the middle year of their 3 year run as well as Pro Bowl teammates with Minnifield.

Mighty Minnie?? Yes that was the nickname for Frank Minnifield on the poster that had he and Dixon atop the roof of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse that sold all over Ohio. Top Dawg and Mighty Minnie were their nicknames. Hanford was the one that coined the phrase “Dawg Defense” during the off-season to motivate the defensive line during training camp in 1985. It caught on full fledged in 1986 so he earned that nickname. Minnifield was the harder hitter of the two.

Frank Minnifield was the shorter of the two at 5’9 180lbs, and had calves as large as his thighs. He had an unbelievable verticle jump as did his brother Dirk Minnifield who starred at the University of Kentucky and later played for the Boston Celtics. Frank played at the University of Louisville and joined the Browns after a 2 year stint in the USFL. He was voted All Pro in 1987 & 1988 and was voted to the Pro Bowl 4 times 1986-1989.

In fact it was his 1988 season that was in our estimation the greatest season by a cornerback in NFL history. With injuries to the Brown quarterbacks that season, the defense had to bear the brunt of the work. In that crucible and facing future Hall of Famers Art Monk, Steve Largent, and ’88 Pro Bowlers Eddie Brown (1,273 yds/9TDs), Mark Clayton (1,129 yards / 14TDs), Drew Hill (1,141 yards  /10TDs), Al Toon (1,067 yards /5TDs), J.T. Smith (986 yards / 5TDs) and Andre Reed (968 yds / 5TDs) Minnifield in 11 of 17 games against this top competition allowed ZERO touchdowns all season. An incredible performance. He allowed ZERO touchdowns for the entire 17 game slate.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and the Browns window to the Super Bowl shut without their having earned the trip.  They played in 3 AFC Championship Games in four years but came up short. In all actuality, they were a real good team who almost stretched it to greatness based on the exploits of two tremendous cornerbacks who masked other Brown defensive deficiencies. For their careers Dixon was a Pro Bowler on 3 occasions and Minnifield 4, and each were 1st team All Pro Once. They were intimidating and could cover the field and as a tandem were the best ever. How good would the Cleveland Browns been without them??? How much better would the Cleveland Browns had been had Safety Don Rogers not died from a cocaine overdose the week after Len Bias in summer of ’86??

Below is the middle of their 3 year run in Honolulu when they were the 1987’s All Pro cornerbacks.



Eagle Football trio named to All-Commonwealth Team


Posted: Fri 12:08 PM, May 08, 2015
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The awards, sponsored by Community Trust Bank, will be presented in conjunction with the 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 26 in Louisville.

MOREHEAD, Ky. — Morehead State juniors Justin Cornwall and Luke Keller and sophomore Jake Raymond have been named to the 2015 Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Commonwealth Team.

The awards, sponsored by Community Trust Bank, will be presented in conjunction with the 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 26 in Louisville.

Cornwall, a slot receiver from Cincinnati, ranked second in the Pioneer Football League in kick return average (22.9 yards) while recording a career-long of 47 yards against Jacksonville. He also averaged 12.9 yards on punt returns, including a career-best 58-yarder at Davidson. Cornwall tied for the team lead with six touchdown receptions while producing 420 receiving yards.

Keller, a linebacker from Lucasville, Ohio, paced the team with 87 total tackles while leading the unit with 11 tackles for loss and six sacks. He also forced two fumbles and blocked a kick.

Raymond, a slot receiver from Pickerington, Ohio, led the team in receptions (71), yards (697) and touchdowns (6) for the second consecutive season. He ranked fourth in the PFL in receptions per game (5.9) while averaging 58.1 yards per outing.

Cornwall and Keller are among the expected 19 seniors on the 2015 Morehead State roster, while Raymond is among a group of 15 juniors.

Three Centre football players named to All-Commonwealth Team

May 08, 2015
Centre was recognized with three selections to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2015 All-Commonwealth Team on Friday, with Heath Haden (Kingsport, Tenn.), Alex Mattingly (Louisville, Ky.) and Brandon Kamp (Cincinnati, Ohio) all receiving the honor.

The award annually recognizes a group of the top rising seniors on college football teams in the state of Kentucky. In 2015, 41 players from 13 Kentucky schools at the NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA levels were selected.

Haden, a quarterback from Kingsport, Tenn., is a three-year starter and a three-time All-Southern Athletic Association selection. Haden has thrown for 6,405 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career, including 1,888 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Haden also ran for 587 yards and six touchdowns in 2014.

Kamp, a tight end from Cincinnati, Ohio, was selected to the All-Commonwealth Team after being a First Team All-SAA pick the last two years. Kamp led all SAA tight ends with three touchdown catches last year, and has seven touchdowns on his career.

Mattingly, a defensive back from Louisville, Ky., also returns after being a First Team All-SAA pick last season. He led Centre’s defense with 73 tackles and three interceptions last season, both of which ranked in the top five in the conference.

The Colonels finished their 2014 season with a 10-1 overall record, an undefeated regular season, their first SAA championships, and their second NCAA Playoff appearance. Centre will open its 2015 season on Sept. 5 at Hanover.

Kentucky’s Towles, Toth, Stamps named to All-Commonwealth football team


Forty-one players, including three from the University of Kentucky, were named Wednesday to the 2015 All-Commonwealth Team announced by the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

UK quarterback Patrick Towles, defensive back A.J. Stamps and offensive lineman Jon Toth were among those named to the squad.

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame started the All-Commonwealth Team in 2010 to recognize young players at a local level.

The announcement leads up to the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony June 26 at the Brown Theatre in Louisville.


Campbellsville: Jacob Russell, Percy Minor, Dekwain Tarrance.

Centre: Brandon Kamp, Heath Haden, Alex Mattingly.

Eastern Kentucky: Dy’Shawn Mobley, Stanley Absanon, Brett Eyckmans, Trey Thomas.

Georgetown: Richard Grimes, Tyler Brooks, Josh Harris.

Kentucky: Patrick Towles, Jon Toth, A.J. Stamps.

Kentucky Christian: Andrew Stewart, Aaron Cooper, Mike Ritter.

Kentucky State: Jermaine Graham, Trevon Spencer, Eric Rawls, Michael Moaga.

Kentucky Wesleyan: Xavier Mitchell, Keelan Cole, Tyler Hermann.

Lindsey Wilson: Alex Abner, Emilio Gonzalez, Josh Haney.

Louisville: Keith Kelsey, Brandon Radcliff, Sheldon Rankins.

Morehead State: Jake Raymond, Luke Keller, Justin Cornwall.

Union: Chandler Whittlesey, Jake Johnston.

Western Kentucky: Brandon Doughty, Leon Allen, Mitchell Henry, Wonderful Terry.


Derrick Ramsey, A member of the Ky Pro Football Hall of Fame is among 4 finalists to be EKU athletics director

Derrick Ramsey

Derrick Ramsey

Ex-Cats Ramsey, Lochmueller among 4 finalists to be EKU athletics director
February 24, 2015

Former University of Kentucky star quarterback Derrick Ramsey and ex-UK basketball player Steve Lochmueller are among four finalists to become the new athletics director at Eastern Kentucky University.

Also in the final four to become EKU AD are Jude A. Killy, senior associate athletics director at Miami (Ohio), and Christopher Walker, associate AD at Washington State.

Ramsey has been the athletics director at Coppin State since 2008. He also served as athletics director at Kentucky State (1999-2003) and worked as deputy secretary of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet (2003-07). The Camden, N.J., product, is best known in the commonwealth as the quarterback who led UK to a 9-3 record and a share of the SEC championship in 1976 and to a 10-1 record in 1977.

Since April, 2014, Lochmueller has been president of Direct Attention Inc., a company he owns. Previously, he was an executive at Lightyear Network Solutions. In the past, Lochmueller was also CEO and owner of Somerset Houseboats. The Tell City, Ind., product was a backup forward at Kentucky under coach Joe B. Hall, lettering in 1972-73 and ’73-74.

EKU is seeking a replacement for Mark Sandy, who left the school in January after 10 years to become athletics director at Ball State.

The Colonels’ new AD could preside over a period of transition. Eastern, long a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, aspires to move up to the FBS. “Given the positive trajectory of EKU athletics, we had an incredibly strong applicant pool,” Eastern Kentucky President Michael Benson said in a university news release.

Each of the four AD finalists will spend two days on EKU’s Richmond campus for a series of meetings and forums. The finalists’ visits are scheduled as follows: Walker, March 8-9; Lochmueller, March 12-13; Killy, March 16-17; and Ramsey, March 18-19.

Read more here:

Ky Pro Football Hall of Fame Member Dwayne Woodruff may be the next member of The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

imageGen.ashx imageGen.ashx-2Preparation and education have always been two of The Honorable Dwayne Woodruff’s core principles. From his decision to attend the University of Louisville, to his 12 seasons as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, to his current career as Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge, with every step he has taken he has been mindful of the next.

The fifty-seven year-old Woodruff, who recently announced his candidacy for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania never planned on an NFL career. However, it turned out to be the launching pad for everything that followed.

The son of a career Army infantryman he originally thought he might pursue a career as an Air Force pilot. But after watching his father become a quadriplegic due to the physical stress placed on his body during his military service, which included fighting in the Vietnam War, Woodruff’s focus shifted. He chose Louisville with education as his priority; and education remained his priority. However, he also knew early on that when opportunity knocks, you answer the door. Woodruff, who excelled both academically and athletically at Louisville, wasn’t considered an NFL prospect, (in large part due to a poor 40 time he had turned in while battling a knee injury) until his friend and teammate, running back Nathan Poole, was being scouted. Every time Poole was asked to do a workout for NFL scouts, he brought Woodruff with him.

Then, Cardinals head coach Vince Gibson was selected to coach the Blue-Gray Football Classic (a former annual college all-star game). Woodruff was one of the players Gibson chose to take with him. Following the Blue-Gray game, Woodruff was notified that another cornerback scheduled to play in the Can-Am Bowl (another all-star game) was injured and he was invited to replace him. In spite of this additional exposure, Woodruff still wasn’t invited to the NFL combine. Nonetheless, somewhere along the way, the Steelers saw something they liked and made him their sixth round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft.

Most people consider being an NFL player a fulltime job with a singularly demanding schedule. Not for Woodruff. One night during the offseason, a few years into his football career and already pondering his post-NFL life, he found himself watching a PBS fundraising auction. Woodruff bid on and won an LSAT study course and found himself on a new trajectory. He explained his initial thoughts on pursuing a legal career.

“Being a lawyer would do two things, it was competitive and I like the competitive side and the preparation. It’s like a battle, like football.”

At the time, he and his wife Joy, whom he had met in college, were living in Louisville during the offseasons. So, he applied to two law schools, the University of Louisville and Duquesne University (located in Pittsburgh). He got into both, but the tipping point in his decision was that Duquesne had a night program.

The Woodruffs relocated to live fulltime in Pittsburgh where Woodruff casually described his football season schedule.

“I’d go to the stadium (in the morning) and leave early evening,” he said. “Then I’d go to class from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., then study, and then home by midnight.” In fact, Woodruff was attending law school when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in 1986 and underwent reconstruction of the knee. He couldn’t play football, but he went to his law classes on crutches.

Not only did he graduate law school in 1988, but he became a practicing attorney while still a member of the Steelers. He retired from the NFL in 1990 and continued practicing law, ultimately becoming a founding partner of the law firm Woodruff, Flaherty and Fardo in 1997 before transitioning into his current position as a judge.

With education such a central element of his own life, Woodruff made it the foundation of his judicial work. Upon his first election, because he had garnered the highest number of votes, Woodruff was allowed first choice in selecting which court he would oversee. He chose the Court of Common Pleas specifically because it was family court and would allow him the ability to educate and help others.

Throughout his years as a judge he has chaired numerous committees and commissions related to the betterment of family services and the Pennsylvania court system and received numerous accolades for his work.

Then, in January 2015, Woodruff announced his candidacy for The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Woodruff is excited and energized about the possibility of moving to the highest level of the judicial system in the state. However, he’s proud of the reputation he’s built in his current position and has bittersweet feelings about leaving it behind.

“I really enjoy where I am,” he said. “I’m known more as an educational judge. I just believe if you’re going to not just move ahead but help society at all you’ve got to have an education. It was a difficult decision for me to make because I get to help kids here in Allegheny County.”

As if that wasn’t enough, he and Joy, who have been married 36 years and have three grown children (one of whom is a physician and two who are attorneys including his son who is also a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps) do more than their fair share of community work. In addition to a litany of community affiliations, more than two decades ago he and Joy founded Dwayne Woodruff Charities, which raises money for various youth projects in the Pittsburgh area. They also serve as the Pittsburgh co-chairs for the National Campaign to Stop Violence’s “Do the Write Thing Challenge.” The mission of the organization is to provide middle school students opportunities to share their thoughts and experiences regarding the impact violence has had on their lives and to engage them to make personal commitments to help reduce violence.

Joy hasn’t been surprised by the extraordinary life and career her husband has built and which Woodruff acknowledges wouldn’t have been possible without her partnership. “When I first met him I was thinking marriage,” Joy said. “I could see he was something special.”

Special indeed.

For more information on Judge Dwayne Woodruff: