College Football Hall of Fame

College sports hall of fame in Atlanta, Georgia
33°45′35″N 84°23′42″W / 33.75972°N 84.39500°W / 33.75972; -84.39500TypeCollege sports hall of fameVisitors250,000CEOKimberly BeaudinCuratorDenis

The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and interactive attraction devoted to college American football. The National Football Foundation (NFF) founded the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football that were voted first team All-American by the media.

In August 2014, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The facility is a 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) attraction located in the heart of Atlanta's sports, entertainment and tourism district, and is adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park.[1]


Early plans

In 1949, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was selected as the site for football's Hall of Fame, via a vote by thousands of sportswriters, coaches, and athletic leaders. Rutgers was chosen for the location because Rutgers and Princeton played the first game of intercollegiate football in New Brunswick on November 6, 1869.[2]

Secondary plans in 1967[3] called for the Hall of Fame to be located at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the location of the first contest under rules now considered to be those of modern football, between teams from Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; Rutgers won 6–4. Rutgers donated land near its football stadium, office space, and administrative support. After years of collecting donations starting in 1949 for the construction of the building with ground not having been broken and no plans to do so, the New Jersey Attorney General began an investigation of the finances of the Hall of Fame's foundation, the National Football Foundation. In response, the Foundation moved its operations to New York City, where it continued to collect donations for several years.

Kings Mills

When the New York Attorney General's office began its own investigation, the foundation moved to Kings Mills, Ohio in suburban Cincinnati, where a building finally was constructed adjacent to Kings Island in 1978.[4][5] In choosing the site, it had been hoped that the museum could attract the same visitors attending the adjacent Kings Island amusement park, but this failed to happen.[5] The Hall opened with good attendance figures early on, but visitation dwindled dramatically as time went on and never truly met projections.[4] Attendance, which had been projected to be 300,000 annually, peaked at 80,000 per year and dwindled to 30,000 per year.[4][5] The facility closed in 1992.[4][5] Nearby Galbreath Field remained open as the home of Moeller High School football until 2003.[4] In 2024, Mercy Health Kings Mills Hospital opened on the site.[6][7]

South Bend

The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana featured a newly installed artificial turf field; the South Bend location closed in December 2012.
College Football Hall of Fame side entrance in South Bend
Blocking activity cage in South Bend
Wall of helmets representing all NCAA and NAIA teams

In September 1991, the National Football Foundation opened a national search for a new location, soliciting bids from cities.[5] It first started by offering bids to cities with local National Football Foundation chapters.[5] Thirty-five such cities replied, including South Bend, Indiana.[5]

The South Bend bid proposal was led by Bill Starks and Edward "Moose" Krause of the South Bend chapter of the National Football Foundation, who then approached South Bend mayor Joe E. Kernan about the concept.[5] Kernan brought the concept to the city's Project Future department, tasked with bringing new attractions to the city to assist its economic development.[5] Patrick McMahon, Project Future's executive director, collaborated with over a hundred people to craft a proposal for South Bend to host the Hall of Fame, which was presented to the National Football Foundation in November 1992.[5] The proposal slated for a $14 million facility to be constructed in South Bend's downtown.[5] Several sites in the city had been explored, such as a site near the Indiana Toll Road and various sites in the city's downtown, but a location near Century Center was the top choice.[5]

On July 13, 1992, William Pearce, chairman of the National Football Foundation, made the announcement that South Bend had won the bid to host the Hall of Fame's new location.[5] South Bend had beaten out other locales, including Atlanta, Houston, the New Jersey Meadowlands, New Orleans.[5]

The new location was opened in South Bend, Indiana, on August 25, 1995. Despite estimates that the South Bend location would attract more than 150,000 visitors a year, the Hall of Fame drew about 115,000 people the first year,[8] and about 60,000 annually after that.[9]

By the late 1990s, some had already begun to criticize the Hall of Fame in South Bend as a failure, due to a lack of corporate sponsorship and poor turnout even during special events.[10]

In September 2009, Archie Manning, the chairman of the National Football Foundation, announced that the museum would be moving to Atlanta.[9] The South Bend location closed in December of 2012.[11]


In 2009, the National Football Foundation decided to move the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta, Georgia. The possibility of moving the museum has been brought up in other cities, including Dallas, which had the financial backing of multi-millionaire T. Boone Pickens.[12] However, the National Football Foundation ultimately decided on Atlanta for the next site. The new $68.5 million museum opened on August 23, 2014.[13] It is located next to Centennial Olympic Park, which is near other attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.[14][15] The Hall of Fame is located near the Georgia Institute of Technology of the ACC (home to the oldest stadium in Division I FBS, Bobby Dodd Stadium), 10 blocks from Georgia State University of the Sun Belt Conference, and roughly 70 miles (110 km) from the University of Georgia of the SEC. The new building broke ground on January 28, 2013.[16] Sections of the architecture are reminiscent of a football in shape.

The facility is 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) and contains approximately 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of exhibit and event space, interactive displays and a 45-yard indoor football field.[17][18] Atlanta Hall Management operates the College Football Hall of Fame.[16]

During the George Floyd Protests on May 29, 2020, the Hall of Fame was damaged and looted by protesters.[19] Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin told ESPN that only the gift shop was looted, adding that "no artifacts or displays were damaged".[20] In 2022, civil rights icon and hall of famer Bobby Grier along with family and Blake Van Leer were invited for a VIP tour. Grier's football story is being made into a future film.[21][22]


As of 2018, there are 997 players and 217 coaches enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, representing 308 schools.[23] Thirteen players, two coaches and one inanimate object (the Goodyear Blimp)[24] were slated for induction in 2019.[25]

Players by school

Institution Players inducted
Notre Dame 48[26]
USC 35[27]
Michigan 32[28]
Tennessee 26[29]
Ohio State 26[30]
Yale 24[31]
Army 24[32]
Oklahoma 23[33]
Alabama 22[34]
Navy 22[35]
Princeton 21[31]
Texas 21[citation needed]
Nebraska 20[36]
Penn State 20[37]
Pittsburgh 19[38]
Minnesota 19[39]
Harvard 18[40]
Stanford 18[41]
Penn 17[39]
California 16[42]
Georgia 14[43]
Georgia Tech 14[44]
Illinois 13[45]
UCLA 13[citation needed]
Wisconsin 12[46]
Washington 12[47]
Northwestern 11[48]
Purdue 11[49]
NC State 10[50]
SMU 10[51]
Syracuse 10[52][53]
Texas A&M 10[54]
Iowa 10[55]
Florida State 9
Arkansas 9[56]
Miami 9[citation needed]
Michigan State 9[57]
Florida 9[58]
Auburn 8[59]
Boston College 8[60]
Baylor 7
Missouri 7
BYU 6[61]
Virginia 5[62]
Marshall 5
Oklahoma State 4[63]
Houston 4[64]
Kansas State 4
New Mexico 2
Georgia Southern 2[65]
Temple University 1
Memphis 1
Kansas 1

Criteria for induction

The National Football Foundation outlines specific criteria that may be used for evaluating a possible candidate for induction into the Hall of Fame.[66]

  1. A player must have received major first team All-America recognition.
  2. A player becomes eligible for consideration 10 years after his last year of intercollegiate football played.
  3. Football achievements are considered first, but the post-football record as a citizen is also weighed.
  4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.
  5. The nominee must have ended his professional athletic career prior to the time of the nomination.
  6. Coaches must have at least 10 years of head coaching experience, coached 100 games, and had at least a .600 winning percentage.[67]

The eligibility criteria have changed over time, and have occasionally led to criticism.

See also


  1. ^ "Hours, Directions & Parking Info - College Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "87TH SEASON - RUTGERS FOOTBALL PROGRAM" (PDF). 1955. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rohrer, Jim (August 9, 2011). "College Football Hall of Fame not enough to bring fortune to Mason". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "South Bend The Next Cooperstown?" (PDF). Scholastic Notre Dame's Student Magazine. November 11, 1993. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Pitman, Michael D. (January 11, 2021). "Mercy Health to build new $156M, 60-bed hospital campus in Mason". Journal-News. Liberty Township, Butler County, Ohio. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  7. ^ "Mercy Health, City of Mason Celebrate Grand Opening of New Mercy Health – Kings Mills Hospital" (Press release). Mercy Health. January 17, 2024. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  8. ^ Lesar, Al (December 30, 2012). "Hall of Fame Curator Here from Beginning to End". South Bend Tribune. p. A1 – via
  9. ^ a b "Hall moving from South Bend to Atlanta". Associated Press. September 23, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "TICKER TAPE" (PDF). The Howey Political Report. 3 (36). August 21, 1997. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "College Football Hall of Fame to close today in South Bend". The Times. December 30, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  12. ^ "Hall hoping to open new building in 2012". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia: Associated Press. September 24, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  13. ^ "History of the Hall - College Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Lesar, Al (July 22, 2012). "Hall to Be Gone by December". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "Hall hoping to open new building in 2012". September 24, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Stephenson to lead development of College Football Hall of Fame". Atlanta Business Chronicle. February 4, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  17. ^ "Interactivity at Core of Football Hall Design". Civil Engineering. March 19, 2013. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  18. ^ "Slideshow: Jan. 28 groundbreaking set for College Football Hall of Fame". Atlanta Business Chronicle. December 31, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  19. ^ Stirgus, Eric. "Protesters damage College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  20. ^ Schlabach, Mark (May 30, 2020). "College Football Hall of Fame damaged by protesters". ESPN. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  21. ^ "Grier Family Announces Project And Celebrated Juneteenth In Atlanta".
  22. ^ "Grier Family Announces Project and Celebrated Juneteenth in Atlanta". AFRICAN SPORTS MONTHLY.
  23. ^ "National Football Foundation - College Football Hall of Fame". National Football Foundation. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Goodyear Blimp Named Honorary Member of College Football Hall of Fame". National Football Foundation. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "NFF Announces Legendary 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class". National Football Foundation. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  26. ^ "Notre Dame Football 2021 Media Guide" (PDF). University of Notre Dame. p. 1. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  27. ^ "USC Football 2021 Media Guide" (PDF). University of Southern California. p. 157. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 25, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  28. ^ "Michigan Football 2021 Media Guide" (PDF). University of Michigan. p. 168. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  29. ^ "2023 Tennessee Volunteer Football College Football Hall of Fame". University of Tennessee. January 9, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  30. ^ "Ohio State 2021 Media Guide" (PDF). Ohio State University. p. 120. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  31. ^ a b "Inductees - Football Players & Coaches". Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  32. ^ "2018 Army West Point Football Media Guide" (PDF). Army West Point. pp. 83–84. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  33. ^ "Oklahoma Football 2018 Media Guide" (PDF). University of Oklahoma. p. 182. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  34. ^ "2018 Alabama Football Media Guide" (PDF). University of Alabama. pp. 146–147. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  35. ^ "2018 Navy Football - Navy Football Record Book" (PDF). CBS Sports Digital. p. 145. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  36. ^ "Huskers in the College Football Hall of Fame". Nebraska Huskers. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  37. ^ "2018 Penn State Football Yearbook". issuu inc. August 4, 2018. pp. 259–261. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  38. ^ "College Football Hall of Fame". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 5, 2023.
  39. ^ a b "Inductees - Football Players & Coaches". Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  40. ^ "Harvard Football Awards and Honors" (PDF). Harvard University. p. 1. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  41. ^ "Stanford Football Record Book" (PDF). Stanford University. p. 133. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  42. ^ "2018 Cal Football Record Book" (PDF). University of California. p. 120. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  43. ^ "2018 Georgia Football Media Guide". University of Georgia. July 9, 2018. p. 195. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  44. ^ "2018 Georgia Tech Football Media Guide" (PDF). Georgia Tech. p. 204. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  45. ^ "Illinois Fighting Illini History" (PDF). University of Illinois. p. 156. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  46. ^ "Badgers in the College Football Hall of Fame". University of Wisconsin. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  47. ^ "2018 Washington Football Information" (PDF). University of Washington. p. 161. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  48. ^ "18 Northwestern FB Media Guide" (PDF). Northwestern University. p. 113. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  49. ^ "Purdue Boilermakers College Football Hall Of Famers". Purdue University. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  50. ^ "NC State Football Media Guide 2022" (PDF).
  51. ^ "2019 SMU Football Media Guide". Southern Methodist University. p. 168. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  52. ^ Leiker, Emily (January 9, 2023). "Freeney becomes 10th SU player selected to College Football HOF". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  53. ^ "NFF Announces Star-Studded 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class". National Football Foundation (Press release). January 9, 2023. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  54. ^ "2018 Texas A&M Aggies Football Media Guide" (PDF). Texas A&M University. p. 177. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  55. ^ "2018 Iowa Football Media Guide" (PDF). University of Iowa. p. 178. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 2, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  56. ^ "Three On College Football Hall Of Fame Ballot". University of Arkansas. June 4, 2018. p. 1. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  57. ^ "2018 Michigan State Spartans Football Media Guide" (PDF). Michigan State University. p. 223. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  58. ^ "2019 Florida Gators Football Media Guide" (PDF). University of Florida. p. 105. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  59. ^ "2Auburn in the College Football Hall of Fame". Auburn University Athletics. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  60. ^ "BC Football Hall of Famers". Boston College Athletics. January 9, 2023. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  61. ^ "BYU College Football Hall of Fame". BYU. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  62. ^ "NFF Announces Storied 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT". National Football Foundation. March 11, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  63. ^ "Leslie O'Neal Named to 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class". Cowboy Football. March 11, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  64. ^ "ROBERT DALE FENIMORE". Houston Chronicle. May 10, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  65. ^ "Adrian Peterson Elected to College Football Hall of Fame - Georgia Southern University Athletics". Georgia Southern University. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  66. ^ "Inductees - Football Players & Coaches - College Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  67. ^ "Inductees Selection Process". College Football Hall of Fame.

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