Orlando Pace Set for Oct. 26 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute
Oct. 25, 2013
IRVING, Texas - The Ohio State University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Orlando Pace with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute on Oct. 26 in Columbus during the game between Ohio State and Penn State. Coverage of the game will start at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
Pace, who starred with the Buckeyes from 1994-96, was known as the "Pancake Man" for flattening his opponents with his exceptional blocking techniques, Orlando Pace finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman balloting, the highest finish for a lineman since 1980.
"Orlando Pace is not only the best offensive lineman I have ever coached, but he is the best I have ever seen," said John Cooper, the College Football Hall of Fame coach. "Every game was a highlight reel for him. We ran a lot of counter sweeps and a lot of screens, and on many of those plays Orlando had to be out in front of the ball carrier. And we had some pretty good ball carriers... I don't know how you could play the position any better than he did. He was just a fantastic football player. He was the best."
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes 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.
"Orlando Pace revolutionized the blocking game," said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. "His pancake blocks led the way for a Heisman Trophy-winning teammate and almost earned Pace a Heisman Trophy himself. It will be a thrill for us to honor him in front of the Buckeye faithful in Columbus."
A two-time unanimous First-Team All-American (1995, 1996), Pace was the first player in history to repeat as the Lombardi Trophy winner, earning the honors as a sophomore and junior. In addition, Pace claimed the 1996 Outland Trophy while leading Ohio State to a share of the Big Ten title. He did not allow a sack during his final two seasons, blocking for Hall of Fame and 1995 Heisman Trophy-winning running back Eddie George as well as NFF Campbell Trophy winner Bobby Hoying. The 1996 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year started every game of his career, and he led the Buckeyes to three straight bowl appearances under Hall of Fame coach John Cooper.
Chosen with the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL Draft, Pace enjoyed a decorated 13 seasons in the league, culminating with the Rams' Super Bowl XXXIV Championship in 1999. Pace was named All-Pro five times, and he earned seven Pro Bowl selections.
The Sandusky, Ohio, native has been a spokesman for Our Little Haven's 'Safe & Warm' expansion project since 1998, and he assists with the efforts for the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Pace also regularly purchases NFL tickets for underprivileged youth.
Pace becomes the 24th Ohio State player 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 (19557-59), Vic Janowicz (1949-51), Gomer Jones (1933-35), Rex Kern (1968-70), 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). Six coaches with stops in Columbus are in the hall: Earle Bruce (1979-87), John Cooper (1988-00), Woody Hayes (1951-78), Howard Jones (1910), Francis Schmidt (1934-40) and John Wilce (1913-28).
Including the 2013 FBS class, only 934 players and 205 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the 4.99 million people who have played or coached the game over the past 145 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. For a complete list of players and coaches in the hall, please visit www.collegefootball.org.
The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City's historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, Dec. 10. This year's College Football Hall of Fame FBS Class includes: Ted Brown (North Carolina State), Teddy Bruschi (Arizona), Ron Dayne (Wisconsin), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska), Jerry Gray (Texas), Steve Meilinger (Kentucky), Orlando Pace (Ohio State), the late Rod Shoate (Oklahoma), Percy Snow (Michigan State), Vinny Testaverde (Miami, Fla.), Don Trull (Baylor), Danny Wuerffel (Florida), and coaches Wayne Hardin (Navy, Temple) and Bill McCartney (Colorado). For more information, please contact Will Rudd at email@example.com or by calling 972-556-1000.
Remaining Scheduled 2013 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes
The 2013 season marks the fourth season that Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans to higher education employees, is serving as the national presenting sponsor of the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes. The salutes are one component of a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. Other highlights of the sponsorship include Fidelity becoming the first presenting sponsor of the organization's prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and helping launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.