Stephens Inducted to College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday

Go Gophers! Sandy Stephens
Go Gophers!
Sandy Stephens
Go Gophers!

Dec. 6, 2011

Click here to watch today's induction press conference and ceremony LIVE

Reusse: U's Sandy Stephens was ahead of his time

The National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for the 2011 class will be held Tuesday night in New York City. The late Sandy Stephens, who played quarterback for Minnesota from 1959-61, will become the 22nd Golden Gopher to join the Hall of Fame.

Stephens was a consensus first-team All-America performer in 1961. He led the Golden Gophers to the 1960 National Championship and to the 1961 and 1962 Rose Bowls. The 1961 Big Ten Most Valuable Player was the first African-American ever to earn All-America status at the quarterback position. He finished fourth in the 1961 Heisman Trophy balloting.

Stephens passed away June 7, 2000 from a heart attack.

His sister Barbara Stephens-Foster spoke at a press conference in New York Tuesday afternoon prior to the official induction ceremony.

"Sandy is here and I'm wearing his Minnesota sweater," Stephens-Foster said. "This is all about the success he enjoyed and I know he would want me to thank his  high school coaches and college coach (Murray Warmath). Sandy believed in being an example and he became a national role model. He just wanted the chance to play quarterback at Minnesota. He just watned to let youngsters see him play on the national stage. That Minnesota team was his band of brothers until he died. He was the general, the papa and all those things that represented leadership. I am just so grateful to represent the family and him today."

Stephens came to the University of Minnesota from Uniontown, Pa., where he was a four-sport star. Stephens turned down an offer to play professional baseball to play football for the Gophers. He was the driving force behind the 1960 national championship team. He was heavily involved in Minnesota's only Rose Bowl victory, a 21-3 win over win over UCLA in the 1962 contest.

In the 1962 Rose Bowl, Stephens scored two touchdowns, completed 7-of-11 passes for 75 yards and rushed for 46 more. He was voted the Player of the Game. On May 22, 1997, Stephens was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

During his Golden Gopher career, Stephens rushed for 791 yards and 18 touchdowns. He passed for 1,475 yards and 14 scores. He also played defensive back and returned punts, tallying nine career interceptions and 254 yards in punt returns.

Following his collegiate career, Stephens went on to play professional football for the Montreal Allouettes, Toronto Argonauts and Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the University of Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Stephens becomes the 22nd Golden Gopher to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The College Football Hall of Fame is located in South Bend, Ind.

The following is a list of each of Minnesota's College Football Hall of Fame members:

Henry Williams (Coach, 1900-21, inducted 1951)
Bronko Nagurski (Fullback/Tackle, 1927-29, inducted 1951)
Bert Baston (End, 1914-1916, inducted 1954)
"Fritz" Crisler (Coach, 1930-31, Inducted 1954)
Herb Joesting (Fullback, 1925-27, inducted 1954)
Ed Widseth (Tackle, 1934-36, inducted 1954)
Bernie Bieman (Coach, 1932-41/1945-50, inducted 1955)
Dick Wildung (Tackle, 1940-42, inducted 1957)
Francis "Pug" Lund (Halfback, 1932-34, inducted 1958)
John McGovern (Quarterback, 1908-10, inducted 1966)
Ed Rogers (End/Kicker, 1901-03, inducted 1968)
Charles "Bud" Wilkinson (Guard, 1934-36, inducted 1969)
Bobby Marshall (End, 1904-06, inducted 1971)
Bruce Smith (Halfback, 1939-41, inducted 1972)
Leo Nomellini (Tackle/Guard, 1947-49, inducted 1972)
Paul Giel (Halfback, 1951-53, inducted 1975)
Clayton Tonnemaker (Center, 1946-49, inducted 1980)
Bobby Bell (Tackle, 1960-62, inducted 1991)
George Franck (Halfback, 1938-40, inducted 2002)
Tom Brown (Guard, 1958-60, inducted 2003)
Carl Eller (Guard, 1961-63, inducted 2006)
Sandy Stephens (Quarterback, 1959-61, inducted 2011) 

-UM-