Two Cougs finalists for College <br>Hall of Fame

IT'S BEEN OVER a quarter of a century since a player from Washington State University has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, but two Cougar greats are one-step closer to ending that Crimson and Gray drought.

Legendary Crimson Soldiers Clancy Williams and Rueben Mayes survived the initial screening process and selection criteria to be considered for 2003 induction. Their names are among the 77 players and six coaches who appear on the ballot being mailed this week to 11,000 voting members of the National Football Foundation.

Williams was a two-way terror for WSU from 1962-64 at running back and defensive back. The Renton native was named first team All-America and all-conference in 1964. He led the Cougs in rushing, scoring, and kickoff returns as a junior and senior. He also led the team in total offense, receptions and punt returns as a senior.

Following his collegiate career, Williams starred in the Los Angeles Rams' secondary for eight seasons. He was their first round draft pick in 1965. His son, Butch Williams, was a three-year all-Pac-10 selection at tight-end for the Cougs from 1990-92.

Mayes was named consensus All-America in 1984 and All-Pac-10 in 1984 and 1985. He still holds the WSU records for single-season rushing yards (1,632) and career rushing yards (3,519). His 357-yard game against Oregon in '84 was an NCAA record and helped him finish in the top ten for Heisman Trophy votes.

The Saskatchewan native also spent eight seasons in the NFL, earning the league's Rookie of the Year honor as a New Orleans Saint in 1986. Twice he was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl team. He currently serves as the director of the WSU Athletic Foundation.

Just four Cougars have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame: Mel Hein (1954), Turk Edwards (1975),  Babe Hollingbery (1979), and Forest "Evy" Evashevski (2001). Hein and Edwards starred for the Hollingbery-coached Rose Bowl Cougars of 1931. Evashevski posted an 11-6-2 record as Cougar head coach from 1950-51.


To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been chosen first team All-America by an organization recognized by the NCAA, played their last year of college football at least ten years prior, played within the last 50 years, and be retired from professional football.


Notably absent from the ballot is legendary Washington State coach Lone Star Dietz. Many Cougar faithful were guardedly optimistic this would be the year Lone Star would earn the honor, thanks to the push of Foundation member and Cougar great Paul Sorensen and Lone Star historian and biographer Tom Benjey.


"His contributions to the game affect us today," a disappointed Benjey said upon learning of Lone Star's exclusion.


As a college head coach, Deitz compiled a 113-61-7 record at WSU, Purdue, Wyoming, Louisiana Polytechnic, Haskell Indian Institute and Albright College. He also was freshman coach at Temple, and head coach of the Boston (now Washington) Redskins for two seasons.


Dietz guided two teams to the Rose Bowl -- WSU and the Mare Island Marines -- and was an assistant to Pop Warner at Stanford in two other Granddaddys of Them All.


Other former Pac-10 players who earned spots on the ballot this year include Ricky Bell, Anthony Davis, Marlin McKeever, Dennis Thurman, and Charles Young of Southern Cal; Cal Golden Bears Ron Rivera and Joe Kapp; Washington kicker Chuck Nelson; Ron Pritchard, Arizona State; and legendary Stanford steak-eater and coach Paul Wiggin.


Former Arizona State chief Darryl Rogers was the lone head coach with Pac-10 ties to appear on the ballot.


Additional notable names that appear on the ballot include Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State; Lydell Mitchell, Penn State; Ray Guy, Southern Mississippi; Rex Kern, Ohio State; George Mira, Miami; Jack Tatum, Ohio State; Tom Curtis, Michigan; and Art Monk, Syracuse.


The Hall of Fame Class will be announced in late March and inducted at The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's 46th Awards Dinner December 9, 2003, in New York City.

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