ATHENS, Ga. - For the fifth time in six years, a former Georgia player was included in the class of inductees announced Monday for the National College Football Hall of Fame.
John Rauch, the 1948 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and the first player in NCAA history to start in four straight bowl games, was announced Monday as a member of the 2003 class that will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., on Dec. 9.
Rauch started 45 straight games for Coach Wally Butts from 1945-48. He completed his career as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards.
Rauch was selected by the Honors Review Committee, which considers nominees who completed their playing careers more than 50 years ago.
"Certainly John Rauch's selection is long overdue and very, very well deserved,'' said Georgia athletics director and former coach Vince Dooley, also a Hall of Fame member.
Added Dooley: "His record and accomplishments are of Hall of Fame quality and all the Georgia people are excited about his election, especially 'Wally's Boys,' the large group of people who played under Wally Butts.''
Dooley said Rauch will be honored when former Georgia players meet for the April 5 G-Day spring game at Sanford Stadium. Rauch led Georgia to a 36-8-1 record and SEC championships in 1946 and 1948.
Though Rauch's total of 4,044 passing yards has been surpassed by five other Georgia quarterbacks, his average of 18.41 yards per completion in 1948 still ranks as the second-best in school history.
Rauch was the No. 1 pick in the 1949 NFL draft, but he is better known for his success as a coach.
After working for several schools, including Georgia (1955-58) as an assistant coach, Rauch was named head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1966, and he led the Raiders to Super Bowl II in 1967. His assistant coaches included John Madden and Bill Walsh.
Rauch later served as an assistant for several teams, including Atlanta.Among others named to the Hall of Fame Monday were Southern Cal running back Ricky Bell, Alabama offensive lineman Billy Neighbors, Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders, Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theismann and two coaches - Hayden Fry (Iowa, SMU and North Texas State) and Doug Dickey (Tennessee and Florida).
Rauch joins kicker Kevin Butler (2001), rover Terry Hoage (2000), running back Herschel Walker (1999) and defensive lineman Bill Stanfill (1998) as the most recent Georgia inductees into the Hall of Fame.
Butts (1997) and Dooley (1994) also were inducted from Georgia in the 1990s.