IRVING, Texas (Oct. 6, 2016) – Ohio State University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Tom Cousineau with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments. The Salute will take place Oct. 8 in Columbus, Ohio, during the game between the Buckeyes and Indiana. Coverage of the game will start at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“I am stunned,” Cousineau said in an Ohio State release after the announcement in January. “I am humbled. And I am truly honored to be a part of this Hall of Fame class. I know there are so many great, great players who will never see the College Football Hall of Fame. It is my understanding that it is really tough to get consensus with so many great players on the ballot, so the fact I have been elected into the Hall of Fame is a testament to the incredible teammates I was fortunate to play alongside and just wonderful news to receive. I am very appreciative and thankful for this honor.”
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.
“Tom Cousineau was one of the most dominant linebackers in Big Ten history,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “He left Ohio State as the school’s leader in nearly every tackling category, and we are thrilled to honor him in front of the Buckeye faithful at Ohio Stadium.”
A two-time consensus First Team All-American for the Buckeyes under College Football Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes, Cousineau’s 569 career tackles rank second all-time in Ohio State history. He still holds six school records, setting marks for single-season tackles and solo tackles during his senior campaign when he was named team MVP. The 1978 team captain led Ohio State to three Big Ten championships, three top 12 finishes and four bowl berths, earning MVP honors after a win in the 1977 Orange Bowl.
A three-time All-Big Ten honoree, Cousineau owns six of the top 10 single-game tackling performances in school history, and he helped the Buckeyes lead the conference in total defense in 1977. Following his senior season, he was invited to play in the Hula Bowl, where he earned Defensive MVP honors.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, Cousineau chose instead to play for Montreal of the Canadian Football League from 1979-82, earning the league’s Grey Cup MVP honor in 1979. He subsequently chose to enter the NFL, playing for the Cleveland Browns from 1982-85 and the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-87.
A 1995 Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Cousineau was the recipient of the Silver Anniversary Butkus Award in 2003. He later tried his hand at politics, running for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2006. He now serves as an assistant football coach at his high school alma mater St. Edward in Ohio, where he is enshrined in the school’s Hall of Fame.
Cousineau becomes the 25th Buckeye to be inducted, joining Warren Amling (1944-46), Hopalong Cassady (1952-55), Jim Daniell (1939-41), Bob Ferguson (1959-61), Wes Fesler (1928-30), Eddie George (1992-95), Randy Gradishar (1971-73), Archie Griffin (1972-75), Chic Harley (1916-17, 1919), John Hicks (1970, 1972-73), Les Horvath (1940-42, 1944), Jim Houston (1957-59), Vic Janowicz (1949-51), Gomer Jones (1933-35), Rex Kern (1968-70), Orlando Pace (1994-96), Jim Parker (1954-56), Chris Spielman (1984-87), Jim Stillwagon (1968-70), Gaylord Stinchcomb (1917, 1919-20), Jack Tatum (1968-70), Aurealius Thomas (1955-57), Bill Willis (1942-44) and Gust Zarnas (1935-37).
Seven coaches with stops in Columbus are in the Hall: Earle Bruce (1979-87), John Cooper (1988–2000), Woody Hayes (1951-78), Howard Jones (1910), Francis Schmidt (1934-40), Jim Tressel (2001-10) and John Wilce (1913-28).
Including the 2016 class, only 977 players and 211 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.19 million people who have played or coached the game over the past 147 years. In other words, only two ten-thousandths of one percent (.0002) of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction. Click here for a complete list of players and coaches in the Hall.
The 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City’s historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, Dec. 6. This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Marlin Briscoe (Nebraska Omaha), Derrick Brooks (Florida State), Tom Cousineau (Ohio State), Randall Cunningham (UNLV), Troy Davis (Iowa State), William Fuller (North Carolina), Bert Jones (LSU), Tim Krumrie (Wisconsin), Pat McInally (Harvard), Herb Orvis (Colorado), Bill Royce (Ashland [Ohio]), Mike Utley (Washington State), Scott Woerner (Georgia), Rod Woodson (Purdue) and coaches Bill Bowes (New Hampshire) and Frank Girardi (Lycoming [Pa.]). For more information, please contact Will Rudd at email@example.com or by calling 972.556.1000.
The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, and they will also take part in a series of events at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta where their accomplishments will be forever immortalized.
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