The Division II Football Hall of Fame will induct Larry Allen, Fred McAfee and Coach Bill Burgess as its Class of 2011 on December 16 at the 26th annual Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II Football Hall of Fame Banquet.
Established in 1999, the Division II Football Hall of Fame inducted former Division II players annually from 1999-2009 before inducting its first class of coaches in 2010.
This year's list of inductees includes two former Division II players and one coach, bringing the total number of players inducted to 27 and the total number of coaches to four.
McAfee was an All-American running back at Mississippi College where he rushed for 4,416 yards and scored 38 touchdowns for the Choctaws from 1987-90. As a senior he rushed for 1,583 yards and 17 touchdowns and finished third in the Harlon Hill Trophy voting. In his fifth year as Director of Player Development for the New Orleans Saints, McAfee played 16 seasons in the National Football League with New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1991-2006.
He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2002 and played with the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX in a losing effort to the Cowboys. He is the only player in Saints franchise history to be on the roster for three (1991, 2000, 2006) of the team's division titles. The 1991 season was his most prolific, offensively, as he rushed for a career-high 109 times for 494 yards and two touchdowns. However, upon his return to New Orleans in 2000, McAfee had evolved into one of the NFL's elite special teams players. His invaluable leadership, intelligence and understanding of the kicking game helped the Saints special teams units become among the elite. In his Pro Bowl season, the Dallas Morning News listed New Orleans as having the league's No. 1 special teams in the publication's annual ranking.
Following the close of his playing career, which ended on December 31, 2006, when he scored a touchdown on his final carry, McAfee made a successful transition into the club's front office as the Director of Player Development. In this position he organizes continuing college education opportunities, internships, life skills training seminars, financial education and family assistance. He serves as a conduit between players and their dealings with coaches and management. Possibly the most important aspect of his job is how he helps rookies make the transition to the NFL. He also helps former players in making the transition into life following their careers.
Allen was an Al-American offensive lineman at Sonoma State (Calif.) from 1992-93 before going on to a distinguished career in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. In two years at Sonoma State, Allen gave up just one sack. He participated in the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and was a two-time All-America selection.
He was also the first player from Sonoma State University to be drafted in the NFL. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection with Dallas, Allen played in more Pro Bowls than any other Dallas Cowboys offensive player in franchise history. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys and was selected for the NFL Teams of the Decade for the 1990s and 2000s. He is also regarded as one of the physically strongest men to have ever played in the NFL, having recorded a bench press of 692 pounds.
Burgess was head coach at Jacksonville State University from 1985-96 and led the Gamecocks to the Division II Championship Game three times in the school's last four seasons in the division. JSU lost in the Championship Game in 1989 and 1991 before winning the Division II National Championship in 1992. He had a remarkable 12-4 record in the Division II playoffs and had an overall record of 69-22-4 in his eight seasons in Division II, including going 56-8-1 from 1988-92.
Burgess led Jacksonville State to five Gulf South Conference crowns and five straight NCAA Division II playoff appearances. He was a three-time Gulf South conference Coach of the Year selection and was named the 1992 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. His overall collegiate record was 89-49-4.
The inductees were chosen by a selection committee and the official announcement was made Wednesday by Division II Football Hall of Fame Chairman Jeff Hodges.
The trio will be inducted on December 16 as part of a combined Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II Football Hall of Fame Banquet at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Ala.
The initial class of inductees in 1999 included running back Johnny Bailey of Texas A&I (now Texas A&MKingsville), quarterback Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State and the late Walter Payton of Jackson State University. In 2000, defensive lineman Harry Carson of South Carolina State University, defensive lineman Pierce Holt of Angelo State University, and wide receiver John Stallworth of Alabama A&M were inducted.In 2001 the third class was comprised of tight end Brent Jones of Santa Clara University, linebacker Greg Lloyd of Fort Valley State University and quarterback Ken O'Brien of the University of California-Davis. Quarterback Scott Brunner of Delaware, receiver Andre Reed of Kutztown and linebacker Jessie Tuggle of aldosta State comprised the 2002 class.
Former Texas A&M-Kingsville and Washington Redskins standout Darrell Green was inducted in 2003, and former North Dakota State and Buffalo Bills standout Phil Hansen was inducted in 2004. The 2005 class included Chris Hatcher of Valdosta State, Ronald Moore of Pittsburg State and Donnie Shell of South Carolina State. Cody Gross of North Alabama, John Randle of Texas A&M-Kingsville and Sean Landeta of Towson State were inducted in 2006. The 2007 inductees included Earl Dotson of Texas A&M-Kingsville, Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama and Mike Turk of Troy State.
Missouri Southern's Rod Smith was the 24th inductee into the Hall in 2008 and Shannon Sharpe of Savannah State was the 25th in 2009.The Class of 2010 included coaches Ken Sparks of Carson-Newman, Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State and Bobby Wallace of North Alabama and West Alabama.The Division II Football Hall of Fame is housed at Braly Municipal Stadium, which has hosted the Division II Football Championship Game since 1986.
The 39th annual Division II Football Championship Game will be played at Braly Stadium at 11 a.m. on December 17, 2011, and the Harlon Hill Trophy presentation to the Division II Player of the Year, and the Hall of Fame inductions are part of the Shoals area's championship week activities.
The Division II Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by The City of Florence, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, OptiNet, Herff Jones and the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa. Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight and are available by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce (256) 764-4661 or the UNA Sports Information Office at (256) 765-4595.