This past weekend, a new class of 24 College Football legends were inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame in beautiful South Bend, Indiana. There was a hometown favorite in this class: “Touchdown Timmy” Brown, the first wide receiver to ever be awarded the Heisman Trophy. A two-time All-American (’86,’87), Tim Brown set 19 school records during his career at Notre Dame.
There were quite a few Golden-Domers attending the festivities, including College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chris Zorich, and Alan Pinkett, former Notre Dame running back and current ND football radio color commentator. ND graduate Mike Golic, the ESPN commentator from Mike & Mike in the Morning, and WNDU-TV Sports Director Jeff Jeffers emceed the festival parade.
I also attended the festivities, where I caught up to Brown; and asked him what he thought about this year’s Fighting Irish team.
By Paul M. Banks
“From what I hear, everyone loves the Coach, and loves what’s happening. And if they like it, I love it,” Brown said.
The most recent Heisman trophy winner from Notre Dame, he set a single season record with 1,937 all-purpose yards his junior year. During his Heisman-winning senior campaign, Brown hauled in 39 catches and three touchdowns while being named a consensus All-American and the Walter Camp Award winner.
Since Brown was the first wideout to win the most prestigious award in all of college football (only one WR, Michigan’s Desmond Howard, who will be enshrined next year, has won it since then), I asked Brown if he had encountered any detractors and naysayers who didn’t think he’d win the award.
“If they did, it wasn’t part of my conversation cause Heisman talk was never something on my tongue,” Brown responded.
“And I wasn’t a guy who just lined up and caught balls. I returned punts, kickoffs, I was in the wishbone. I did a lot of different things. If they would have said that stuff, I would have said: I’m not a receiver, I’m an all-purpose guy,” Brown continued.
Brown was the only Heisman winner in a class whose enshrinement received unprecedented media coverage. ESPN SportsCenter, ESPN College Football Live and ESPNEWS all ran multiple features on the event. XOS Digitial, a leading provider of digital technologies for sports teams, streamed the event live to their Web site, and XM Sirius Satellite Radio broadcasted live from the event for the second year in a row.
It was also HUGE locally. “The turnout this year was spectacular, and fans savored every moment of the weekend,” said College Football Hall of Fame Executive Director Lisa Klunder. “We are deeply appreciative of all the support from the City of South Bend and the local residents who shared in this celebration.”
Of the 829 players enshrined in the Hall, Notre Dame leads the way with 43 players. Michigan, is second with 29.
Selected sixth overall in the 1988 draft by the Los Angeles Raiders, Brown holds the NFL rookie record for most combined yards gained (2,317). He was also named to the NFL 1990’s All-Decade team, in addition to nine Pro Bowls. He also hauled in an NFL record 75 receptions in 10 straight seasons.
Today, Brown lives in Desoto, Texas, and serves as the national chairman of Athletes & Entertainers for Kids.
Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguruFollow paulmbanks