"Reggie redefined his position and set a precedent for defensive tackles and ends at all levels of football," Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Chairman William Pate said. "He was one of the most intense and dominant players in the SEC and that carried into one of the greatest professional careers in football history."
Swofford has been involved with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl since 1970 when the Tar Heels played Arizona State University at Georgia Tech's Grant Field. He played quarterback and defensive back from 1969-71. Swofford was the Tar Heels' assistant athletics director from 1976-1980 and the athletics director from 1980-97. During his tenure as A.D., Tar Heel athletic teams claimed 123 ACC championships and 24 national collegiate titles, including 18 by the school's women's programs. As commissioner of the ACC since 1997, Swofford has been instrumental in expanding the conference adding Virginia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and Boston College.
"John has the distinct position of playing in our bowl game, participating as an athletics administrator and being a partner in the ACC," Pate said. "His leadership has had a great impact on college sports and earned him a place in our Hall of Fame."
During his 28-year career, Claiborne was a much admired and respected football coach at Virginia Tech, Maryland and Kentucky. He won three Atlantic Coast Conference championships at Maryland and took 11 teams to postseason play. Claiborne was the recipient of The Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 1974, the SEC Coach of the Year in 1983 and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999 with a career record of 179-122-8.
"Jerry Claiborne embraced his players both on and off the field," said Pate. "He taught them how to be not only great football players, but also great students. His teams were always among the association's best in academic achievement and graduation rate."
Barton started every game during his four years at UNC. He began his college career as a center, then moved to left tackle mid-season of his sophomore year. Barton was named ACC Outstanding Offensive Lineman, All-ACC and Academic All-ACC in 1986. He was a first-round draft pick (22nd overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in 1987 and won three Super Bowls during his 12-year NFL career. A two-time All-Pro, Harris was a Pro Bowl selection in 1993. Barton is an Atlanta native and attended Dunwoody High School.
"Harris was a dynamic lineman, playing all three positions," Pate said. "He protected one of the most potent offenses in the NFL and has three rings to show for it."
In 2002, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl created its first-ever Hall of Fame to honor former players, coaches and administrators as well as staff and volunteers who have had a significant impact on the Bowl. Last year's inaugural class included George Crumbley (bowl founder), Bobby Dodd, Vince Dooley, Jim Kelly, Wilber Marshall, Don McCauley, Ron Sellers, Mike Singletary and Randy White.
The 36th Annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be held at the Georgia Dome on Jan. 2, 2004 at 4:30 p.m. when Tennessee (10-2) faces Clemson (8-4). In 2004, the Bowl has already recorded its seventh straight sellout, is expected to contribute a record $400,000 in charitable and scholarship contributions and attain its highest-ever team payout at $2.15 million per team.