Posted: Nov 11, 2011 6:54 PM by Lee Douglas/NFF
Updated: Nov 11, 2011 9:02 PM
DALLAS, Nov. 7, 2011 - The U.S. Air Force Academy and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will jointly honor Coach Fisher DeBerry with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, Saturday during the game between the Falcons and the University of Wyoming.
"When you have players who are not sure they can do something and you make them believe that they can, that's where you get satisfaction," DeBerry told The Gazette upon learning about his induction in May. "For me, it was always about the academy. It wasn't about me, and it still isn't about me. I was blessed to have a wife who sacrificed a lot of things and assistant coaches who worked their butts off and a lot of players who loved each other and loved the academy."
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee's Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.
"Fisher DeBerry's accomplishments are astonishing," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "His record would be the envy of any coach, and he did it while coaching at a service academy and in a very competitive conference. But perhaps most impressive is the respect and admiration that he earned from his players. He is universally revered, and it will be a privilege to honor him in front of the Falcon fans on November 12."
The winningest head coach in the history of the service academies, DeBerry defined Air Force football from 1984 to 2006, winning 60.8 percent of his games with an overall record of 169-109-1. He earned 17 winning marks in his 23 seasons at Air Force, directing his teams to 12 bowl games. He claimed three Western Athletic Conference championships and directed the 1998 squad to a 12-1 finish and a No. 10 ranking, capping the only back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history.
DeBerry's teams made Colorado Springs the perennial home for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, capturing the crown 14 times and claiming a 35-11 record versus Army and Navy. He was honored with national Coach of the Year honors in his second season after coaching the Falcons to a 12-1 record, a No. 8 final AP ranking and a Bluebonnet Bowl victory over Texas. He also defeated Notre Dame three times.
DeBerry coached 19 All-Americans, 127 All-Conference performers, 11 Academic All-Americans and guided College Football Hall of Famer Chad Hennings to the Outland Trophy in 1987 and Chris Howard to the Campbell Trophy in 1990. DeBerry has served as the president of the American Football Coaches Association and on the organization's ethics committee. He is a member of the Independence Bowl Hall of Fame, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and the Wofford College Sports Hall of Fame.
DeBerry and his family began the Fisher DeBerry Foundation in 2004, which aims to benefit children of single-parent households. He is also an active member in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was inducted into the organization's Hall of Champions in 2005. He and his wife LuAnn have assisted in fundraising efforts for the Easter Seals, the March of Dimes, the Salvation Army and the March of Dimes. A South Carolina native, he and his wife have two children, five grandchildren and reside in Grove, Okla.
DeBerry become the fourth person with ties to Air Force to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Inductees who played at Air Force include (with year of induction) Brock Strom (1985) and Chad Hennings (2006). Buck Shaw, who headed the Air Force program from 1956-57, was inducted in 1972.
Including the 2011 FBS class, only 900 players and 194 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly five million people who have played or coached the game over the past 143 years. In other words, less than .0002 percent of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction
This year's class includes: Carlos Alvarez (Florida), Doug English (Texas), Bill Enyart (Oregon State), Eddie George (Ohio State), Marty Lyons (Alabama), Russell Maryland (Miami, Fla.), Deion Sanders (Florida State), Jake Scott (Georgia), Will Shields (Nebraska), Sandy Stephens (Minnesota), Darryl Talley (West Virginia), Clendon Thomas (Oklahoma), Rob Waldrop (Arizona), Gene Washington (Michigan State), coach Lloyd Carr (Michigan), and coach Fisher DeBerry (Air Force).
The 2011 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City's historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, December 6.