Covert selected to College Hall

Jim Covert may someday be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton <!--Default For Ohio is to ignore-->Ohio, but for now the tackle will have to settle for being selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Covert, an offensive tackle at Pittsburgh from 1979-82, was among 11 players selected for induction. Covert started with the Bears from day one when the team selected him with the sixth pick in the 1983 draft. He anchored the line that was considered among the best in football.

The strong class includes Barry Sanders, Joe Theismann and Ricky Bell.

Sanders won the 1988 Heisman Trophy while playing for Oklahoma State, and became one of the NFL's best running backs with the Detroit Lions before his abrupt retirement prior to the 1999 season.

Theismann quarterbacked Notre Dame to a 25-4-3 record in three seasons, and was second to Jim Plunkett in the 1970 Heisman voting. Theismann threw for 4,411 yards and 31 touchdowns and ranked second in school history in passing when he was done. He set 19 school records, and now ranks seventh on Notre Dame's all-time passing list.

Bell, who starred at Southern California in the mid-1970s, was a two-time All-American. He led the nation in rushing in 1975 with 1,957 yards, and finished second in the '76 Heisman balloting behind Tony Dorsett. Bell died in 1984 at the age of 29 of cardiac arrest brought on by rare skin and muscle disease.

The other players chosen were Murry Bowden, a defensive back at Dartmouth from 1968-70; Tom Brown, a guard at Minnesota, from 1958-60; Jimbo Covert, an offensive tackle at Pittsburgh, from 1979-82; Jerry LeVias, an end at SMU from 1965-68 and the first black to receive an athletic scholarship at the school; Billy Neighbors, a tackle at Alabama, 1959-61; Ron Pritchard, a linebacker at Arizona State, 1966-68; and John Rauch, a quarterback at Georgia, 1945-48.

Former coaches Hayden Fry and Doug Dickey were also selected to the hall.

Fry was a head coach for 37 years, the last 20 at Iowa before retiring in 1998. He also coached 11 seasons at SMU and six at North Texas State, posting a record of 232-188-10 at the three schools.

Dickey, who coached at Tennessee from 1964-69 and Florida from 1970-78, had a combined record of 104-58-6.

The new class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a banquet Dec. 9 in New York. The new hall members will be officially enshrined in August 2004.

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