The banquet was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami. The eight members of the 2005 Hall of Fame class were Michael Barrow (football), Andrew Burrow (tennis), Nathaniel Crosby (golf), Dennis Erickson (football), Gillian Russell-Love (track), Warren Sapp (football), Kevin Sheary (baseball), and Gene Stage (basketball).
Miami athletic director Paul Dee made a quick opening statement prior to the induction of the athletes.
"This is one of the greatest days in Hurricane athletics," Dee said. "I want to congratulate each of the inductees."
A number of former football players were in attendance including Gino Torretta and Cortez Kennedy. Also in attendance were current football head coach Larry Coker, baseball head coach Jim Morris, and Miami Dolphins starting quarterback A.J. Feely.
Warren Sapp played for the Hurricanes from 1991-94. He was a consensus All-American and the first Hurricane to win the prestigious Lombardi Trophy.
"I can actually say this is the first time in a while that I'm speechless," Sapp said. "I am glad that my mom made me go to Miami. She wouldn't let me go to Florida and Bobby Bowden, from Florida State, wouldn't visit the house."
Sapp was a first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1995 and won a Super Bowl ring in 2002. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler from 1997-2003.
"I came to Miami as a 225-pound tight end and I was fortunate to go on and do some special things," Sapp said. "I had a great time at Miami."
"I want to thank Ryan Collins who was my roommate for three years," Sapp said. "I also want to thank Greg Mark for teaching me and Art Kehoe for being, well, Kehoe."
Sapp finished his three-year career with 176 tackles and 19.5 sacks.
"There is nothing like being a Hurricane. I bleed it--orange and green."
Linebacker Michael Barrow earned two rings as a member of the 1989 and 1991 National Champion Hurricanes. He played for Miami from 1989-1992.
"It was a very tough decision for me when I was 17 and had to decided where to go to school," Barrow recalled. "I grew up a Florida Gators fan and it was a tough decision for me. But sometimes the toughest decisions are the best decisions. Choosing to go to Miami was the best decision I ever made."
As a senior he was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and won Miami's Jack Harding MVP award.
"The main reason I chose to go to Miami was when I went on an unofficial visit and I saw the guys working out in the weightroom," Barrow said. "It wasn't that we had the biggest or strongest guys, but what I saw was that guys were a family. I wanted to be a part of that family."
After forming the "Bermuda Triangle" with linebackers Jesse Armstead and Darrin Smith Barrow was a second-round draft pick by Houston in 1993. He is currently a member of the Washington Redskins.
"It was the relationships I had at Miami that mean the most to me," Barrow said. "In the NFL you search for that family atmosphere and I'm glad that I found that at Miami. That is what means the most to me."
"You guys didn't have to vote me in, but I thank you anyway," Barrow said in closing.
Dennis Erickson is the only football coach in Miami history to win two national championships. He coached the Hurricanes six seasons from 1989-1994 compiling a 63-9 record.
"This is something that is very special to me," Erickson said. "It was the best six years of my life."
During his tenure Miami produced 14 All-Americans and seven first-round draft picks. While he was the coach the Hurricanes set the NCAA Division-I record for consecutive wins at home with 58.
"I want to thank all of the assistant coaches for their hard work," Erickson said. "They are the ones that really make this thing go. But most importantly I want to thank the players."
Erickson arrived to Miami from Washington State. He thanks the players for teaching him things about life--which is usually the other way around.
"I learned a lot when I came to Miami," Erickson said. "It was a culture shock. I learned a lot about work ethic and how important football was to these players. I learned a lot about life from them."
Although he won two national championships it was the tough times through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that he declares his biggest moment as head coach at Miami.
"We practiced up in Vero Beach and had a great season in 1992," Erickson said. "For four hours on Saturday everything was back to normal. It was time for the community of South Florida to come together for one day and everything was okay."
"Miami Hurricane football is South Florida and it always will be."
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted at email@example.com
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