Tribute to the 2014 Track ‘Em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame
Frank Sanders with Bob Hope on the 1994 All-American TV Show. (photo:Auburn media file)
Auburn University has a football heritage that is one of the richest in all of college sports. In fact, some of the greatest to ever play the game have worn the Orange and Blue. The Tigers have had four College Football Hall of Fame coaches, three Heisman Trophy winners, and are the twelfth Winn ingest program in Division I history.
Not only has Auburn won more SEC Championships than any other school in the last 10 years, the Tigers are the ninth most successful program in the last five decades. In addition, there have been over a thousand players to wear the Orange and Blue in that time span.
For that reason we turned to our members to help select the 2014 class 0f Track ’em Tigers Hall of Fame.
Over a thousand TET members voted over the July 4th weekend and selected a 10 member class that features one former coach and six All-SEC players, four of whom made All-American.
The ten man class includes four offensive players, three defensive players and one special selection of a person who never played a down of college football.
Following are short bios on the selections for this year’s class.
Mike Donahue (Coach) 1904–1906, 1908–1922. Known as “Iron Mike,” Donahue is one of the most important names in the history of Auburn athletics. Coach Donahue had a .743 winning percentage with a record of 106 -35-5 in 18 seasons on The Plains. A record only surpassed by Gus Malzahn (for coaches who’ve coached more than five games).
He had three undefeated teams and won five Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, in 1904, 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1919. His 1913 and 1914 teams have been retroactively recognized as national champions by various selectors with the ’13 team appearing in the NCAA record book.
In 1905, Donahue both started and coached Auburn’s first official varsity basketball team, which went 3–1 -1. He also served as athletic director, baseball coach, track coach, and soccer coach at one time or other while at Auburn.
One of four Auburn Coaches to have been inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame, Donahue Drive on which Jordan–Hare Stadium is located is named in his honor.
Ed Dyas (RB/LB/ST) 1958-60. A three way player at Auburn from 1958-60, Dyas was a star fullback, linebacker, and kicker. He is one of eight former Auburn players to be inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. He led his team in rushing and scoring his senior year and was named the most outstanding back in the SEC. At the end of his Auburn career he was sixth on the all-time rushing list at Auburn.
As a kicker Ed was considered one of the most outstanding field goal kickers in the history of the sport. He rewrote the NCAA record books in 1960 for kickers. Four times during that season, Dyas won SEC games with his field goals, including kicking three in the first ever Auburn-Georgia game played in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Although the All-American finished fourth in the 1960 Heisman Trophy voting he elected to forgo an NFL career to attend medical school.
More after the jump including one who never played for Auburn.
Jim Fyffe (Radio announcer) 1981-2003. Named Alabama Sportscaster of the Year nine times during his career, he was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Fyffe was and still is the most revered radio announcer in the history of Auburn Football.
His distinctive voice called the play-by-play for Auburn’s football teams for 22 years. There was never any doubt, that Jim was a homer and a man who loved Auburn – both traits that made his voice synonymous with Auburn Football. To this day, many fans can remember where they were when they heard him make one of his many famous calls. Current announcer, Rod Bramblett honors Jim today by using his distinctive “Touch d o w n n n … A u b u r n !” At the game, in the car, or at home, Jim was Auburn football.
David Langner (DB) 1971 -1973. His is a name that needs no introduction to Auburn people. He was the hero of the 1972 Iron Bowl game known as “Punt, Bama, Punt.” Down 16-3 to No.2 Alabama, he scooped up two blocked punts by bill Newton scoring both times to give Auburn it’s most wildest finish in Iron Bowl history (that is till this year’s “Kick six”). In addition, he sealed Bama’s fate with an interception on the last play of the game.
ESPN has ranked the game as one of the top defining moments of college football and in August 2010, they ranked the game as the 8th most painful outcome in college football history.
However what most folk don’t remember was that Langner was also an All-SEC Defensive back whose 12 career interceptions is tied for fifth in Auburn history. And David still holds the Auburn record with 287 interception return yards, including 108 in one game.
Phillip Lutzenkirchen (TE) 2009-2012. Perhaps one of the all-time fan favorites to ever play at Auburn. Although he had not been out of school long enough to be considered for the 2014 class, his name was placed on the ballot due to overwhelming support from our members.
A member of the 2010 National Championship team, Phillip was also one of the best Tight Ends to ever wear the Orange and Blue. Although his senior year was cut short by a hip injury, the All-SEC player still ranks first in touchdown receptions (14), second in total receptions (59) and third in receiving yards (628).
He was a consummate Tight End who had a knack for making big plays. Perhaps the one that will be remembered the most was when he scored the winning touchdown in the 2010 comeback win over Alabama. His name will forever go down in Iron Bowl lore along with such greats as David Langner, Lawyer Tillman, Bo Jackson, and Chris Davis.
A hip injury cost him his senior season and what had looked like a promising NFL career.
Dameyeune Craig (QB) 1993-1997. One of the most electrifying quarterbacks to ever play for Auburn. He did things on the gridiron that has rarely been seen in college football. Fans who saw Cam Newton may be the only Auburn quarterback to come close to the acrobatic exploits of the former signal caller.
He led Auburn in setting an offensive team record of 588 total yards in a 62-0 victory over Fresno State. In his senior year, he led Auburn to the SEC Western Division title and a berth in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta where the Tigers lost a narrow 30-29 game to Peyton Manning and Tennessee.
The current Auburn Offensive Coordinator went on to play professionally for the Carolina Panthers and the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe – where he set a pro football passing record of 611 yards. The jersey he wore in that game now hangs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ronnie Brown (RB) 2000 -2004. The two time All-SEC selection was part of Auburn’s Dynamic Duo that included Cadillac Williams. Despite backing up Williams his first two seasons, he scored 30 touchdowns at Auburn and finished his career with 3,475 all purpose yards; which was good enough to be ranked seventh in the history of Running back U.
Coach Tommy Tuberville said that the duo along with Quarterback Jason Campbell made up the best backfield in the past 30 years as they led the team to a 13-0 record and a No.2 final ranking. Tubby still maintains today that the ’04 bunch should be recognized as national champions.
Brown was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and after 10 years he is still playing professional football.
Frank Sanders (WR) 1991-94. Named to the 2013 Class of SEC Football Legends, Frank truly is an Auburn and SEC legend. He led the SEC in receiving yards (910) his senior year and finished his career in second place on Auburn’s all-time list of total receptions (121), with 1,998 total yards, and 15 touchdowns. The stellar performance led to him being named First Team All-SEC as well as an All-American in 1994.
He was immortalized among Auburn fans by Jim Fyffe’s famous “Nix to Sanders” call in the 1993 Iron Bowl when trailing Bama, he caught a 4th and 14 touchdown pass from Patrick Nix. The two duplicated the feat the next season to upset No.1 Florida in the Swamp.
He went onto play nine seasons in the NFL mostly with the Arizona Cardinals, retiring after 2003 with 507 career receptions for 6,749 yards and 24 touchdowns.
David Rocker (DT) 1987-90. When college football fans hear the name Rocker most think of Auburn’s Lombardi Trophy winner Tracy Rocker. However, his brother David made just as big an impact on those great Pat Dye teams of the late eighties.
While David didn’t win the Lombardi (which recognizes the nation’s top collegiate lineman) he was a finalist for the award in1990. He also joined his brother Tracy in becoming a first team All-American in 1990. He was a two-time consensus All-SEC player in 1989 and 1990 and went on to play four seasons for the Los Angeles Rams.
After narrowly missing TET’s Hall of Fame last year, it’s great to see the fans put him in the 2014 class.
Karlos Dansby (LB) 2001-03. A two time All-SEC selection and First Team All-American, Dansby was a Butkus Award semi-finalist his senior year after making 84 tackles including 14 tackles for a loss with 5.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and 4 caused fumbles.
Known as one of the hardest hitting linebackers to ever play in the SEC Karlos had a total 219 career tackles, 36 for a loss, 10 sacks,15 pass deflections and eight interceptions. I just wish Auburn could clone him for 2014.
He was the first pick of the second round in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. And after 10 seasons ,the All-Pro is still at the top of his game.
So there you have it – the 2014 class of Track ‘em Tigers Auburn Football Hall of Fame.
We want to express our appreciation to everyone that participated in the process of nominating and or voting the last few days. Selecting 10 names from such a storied program like Auburn is a very difficult task. After all, there have been hundreds of other worthy nominees to play for the Tigers including 70 All-Americans and over 243 first team All-SEC players. So this class, just like Auburn Football, is in a class by themselves.