NFF Honors Dinner Set for June 11
June 2, 2017

Burton, Stubblefield on 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

Two Boilermakers are on the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, which was released yesterday - split end Larry Burton (1973-74) and wide receiver Taylor Stubblefield (2001-04). They are among 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Also on the ballot is Purdue co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter, who was a two-time consensus All-American safety at Virginia in 1997 and 1998.

The Class of 2018 will be announced Jan. 8.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Celebrating the inductions of three Boilermakers into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame will be the main focus of the National Football Foundation’s Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana at its 13th-annual Honors Dinner. It will happen Sunday afternoon, June 11, at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms in West Lafayette.

Tickets are on sale through the chapter’s website. Sales will continue through June 6.


The new Indiana Football Hall of Fame members are high school coaching legends Vince Burpo and Jim Davis and former Purdue players Bernie Flowers and Rod Woodson, while Otis Armstrong will be given his induction plaque of 2015.

The chapter awards this year are ...

* Gold Medallion Award - Morgan Burke
* Drew Brees Mental Toughness Award - Roosevelt Barnes and Caleb Swanigan
* Bernie Flowers Award for Outstanding Contribution to Football - Darren Hicks
* “He Played Football” Award - Mike Berghoff
* Legends Award - Roy Johnson
* Patrick Mackey Courage Award - Riley Lowder
* Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award - To be determined and announced June 11


The highlight of the event, in conjunction with the Indiana Football Coaches Association, will be the Hall of Fame Inductions.

Burpo coached three different high schools in our area (Frontier, Frankfort and Delphi) between 1985 and 2008, posting a combined record of 112-83 in 18 seasons as head coach. He was also an assistant coach for seven years. Burpo graduated in 1977 from Martinsville High School and 1982 from Franklin College before earning a master’s degree from Indiana University in 1989. During his career, his teams won six conference championships, five sectional titles and two regionals. Vince coached six Indiana All-Stars and served on the coaching staff of the Indiana North-South Shrine Bowl in 1989. He held several positions in the IFCA, including four years as regional director. He has retired from coaching but still teaches at Delphi.

Davis compiled a 38-year coaching record of 212-198, mostly at North White High School since 1979 after getting his start at Northern Wells in 1976. Highlights of his career were winning the state championship in 1994 and finishing runner-up in 1998. Davis graduated from Payne High School in 1971 and played at Manchester College where he graduated in 1975, before earning a master’s degree at St. Francis College prior to his move to North White. Jim was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year six times and has been active in the IFCA as a class coordinator for many years. He is retired from coaching and teaching but remains a loyal Viking supporter.

Flowers, a 1953 Purdue graduate, will be inducted posthumously, with his son, Kerry Flowers, receiving the award. Bernie is one of the all-time great Boilermaker receivers, having caught 82 passes for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns in an era when passing the ball was not nearly as common as it is today. Bernie was a Consensus All-American in 1952 and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. He returned to the Lafayette area in the early 1960’s and had a very successful career in insurance while raising five children with his wife, Adella. Bernie was inducted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. He was a long-time member of the John Purdue Club and an integral part of the formation and development of the NFF’s Joe Tiller Chapter.

Following a stellar high school career at Fort Wayne Snider where he was a two-time USA Today Prep All-American, two-time Indiana All-State choice and the 1982 Indiana Mr. Football, Woodson became a four-year starter, three-year first-team All-Big Ten star and Consensus All-American at Purdue, playing 1983-86. He went on to become one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history, playing 17 years with Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore and Oakland. He played in the Super Bowl with three different teams, was named to 11 Pro Bowls and was picked for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, followed by the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Like Flowers, he went into Purdue’s Hall of Fame in 2003. He is now an assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders.

Armstrong was selected and inducted in 2015, but was unable to travel to Indiana due to surgery, while Leroy Keyes accepted his plaque, and then had a family emergency that caused him to miss last year’s dinner. A record-setting back and consensus All-American for Purdue in the early 1970’s, Armstrong now lives in Centennial, Colorado, near Denver where he played professionally for the Broncos. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Unfortunately, one presentation will be delayed until next year’s Honors Dinner. The Drew Brees Award for Mental Toughness will be given to Barnes, a former Boilermaker football and basketball player, and Swanigan but not this year as “Biggie” will be working out for an NBA team that day in preparation for the draft. Barnes adopted Swanigan and helped him overcome a difficult personal situation six years ago to become Big Ten Player of the Year in basketball this past season, leading Purdue to an outright conference championship. Barnes and Swanigan will have a much more predictable schedule next year at this time and have agreed to return for that event.

Other honorees at “Celebrating Our Legends XIII” will include Hicks, a 25-year coach and director in the Lafayette Central Catholic Little Gridiron Program as he receives the award that was created to recognize outstanding contributions to amateur football and appropriately named in honor of Bernie Flowers.

Burke is retiring in June after 24 years as Purdue’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Vice President, receiving the chapter’s Gold Medallion Award. Berghoff, a former walk-on player at Purdue, is now Chairman of Purdue Board of Trustees and is receiving the “He Played Football” Award. Johnson will be recognized with the Legends Award after his 43 years as the “Voice of the Band” at Purdue. Lowder will be honored for exhibiting outstanding courage in overcoming his physical difficulties as a child and teenager to become a football player at Delphi High School.


For the 13th straight year, the top scholar-athletes of Northern Indiana, who were nominated by their schools for the NFF’s scholarships, will be featured during this marque event.

Those 15 scholar-athletes are all high school seniors who are headed to college next fall. Academically, it is an outstanding group. Eight of them have 4.0 grade-point averages or better, eight are ranked among the top five in their senior classes and four are on course to be valedictorians at their schools. Their collective grade point average is 3.94.

Six of those young men have been singled out by judges as finalists for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and the winner will be announced June 11 making him a candidate for the Indiana Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. The “competition” is based 40 percent on academics, 40 percent on athletics and 20 percent on citizenship, leadership and character.

The scholar-athletes’ names and high schools are Joshua Benson (Lake Central), Jonathan Cieslak (Munster), Jacob Clouser (Delphi Community), Patrick Davis (North Newton), Jack DeGroot (Winamac), Trenton Howard (Caston), Austin Lawrence (Winchester Community), Matt Marley (West Lafayette), Jacob Page (Lafayette Central Catholic), Ross Pearson (Rochester), Jake Quasebarth (North White), John Ragan (Eastbrook), Dylan Spesard (Carroll), Adam Sturgeon (Harrison) and Kellen Woods (Tipton).

In addition, the Honors Dinner crowd will pay tribute to the high school players and managers chosen from Regions 1 and 4 to compete on the North Squad in the annual North-South All-Star Game this summer in Indianapolis.

New Purdue Head Football Coach Jeff Brohm will be part of the program and Miss Purdue Mary Tremaine, who will compete later that week for the title of Miss Indiana, will be on hand to welcome guests.

Also, Karli (Edging) Spesard, a recent Purdue graduate and vocal star from nearby Delphi, will perform for the fifth straight NFF Honors Dinner.


Table prices are the same as last year for a table of eight ($400 for general public, $320 for NFF chapter members and honorees’ families, and $280 for students). Single tickets are $60 for public, $50 for members and $40 for students. VIP Reception tickets are $50 each for general public and $25 for NFF members.

Since receiving its charter in the fall of 2004, as a non-profit organization, this chapter has awarded more than $200,000 in grants, scholarships and honorariums to students plus another $65,000 to other charities in the region.

In addition to seeking donations and sponsorships to support the scholarship program, the chapter also receives money ($500 for every 50 dues-paying members in the local chapter) from the national office in Irving, Tex. In its first 12 years, this chapter has recognized 228 scholar athletes and awarded them between $200 and $5,000 each.

The NFF’s tax-deductible membership dues are $40 per year or $99 for three years, payable to the National Football Foundation. The NFF has 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, nationally, and awards more than $1.3 million in scholarships each year.

For more information, contact Jim Vruggink at 765.427.3303 or by email.




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