April 12, 2001
DALLAS – Seven individuals who helped shape the Cotton Bowl and college football history will be inducted into the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in May.
Southwestern Bell and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association announced the Class of 2001 on Thursday. The inductees include Texas tackle Scott Appleton, Syracuse halfback Ernie Davis, Miami defensive tackle Russell Maryland, Clemson and Rice coach Jess Neely, Arkansas defensive tackle Loyd Phillips, Texas split end Charles “Cotton” Speyrer, and Houston coach Bill Yeoman.
The 2001 Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 15, at Cotton Bowl Plaza in Fair Park. The ceremony will be free and open to the public. Russell Maryland, Loyd Phillips, Cotton Speyrer and Bill Yeoman plan to attend the event. Scott Appleton, Ernie Davis and Jess Neely will be inducted posthumously.
Appleton is to be represented at the induction by his sister, Tresha Steffens. Accepting on behalf of Davis will be his mother, Marie Fleming. Neely will be represented by his great nephew, Tony Neely. Former SMU tailback, Cotton Bowl Classic participant and current CBS sportscaster Craig James will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies.
Davis was the first African American to win the famed Heisman Trophy, given each year to college football’s outstanding player by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City. The Syracuse halfback earned the award as a senior in 1961.
Three members of the Class of 2001 won the Outland Trophy, presented annually by the Football Writers Association of America to college football’s finest interior lineman. The three Outland winners are Appleton (1963), Phillips (1966) and Maryland (1990).
Each of the four players, along with Speyrer, earned All-America recognition during their collegiate careers. Davis, Neely and Phillips are members of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Neely was inducted in 1971, followed by Davis in 1979 and Phillips in 1992.
“The Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame honors the many extraordinary individuals who have played a role in developing the tradition, pageantry and prestige of one of college football’s most historic post-season bowl games,” said Fred McClure, chairman, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. “We believe that the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame provides future generations with a greater appreciation for the rich tradition of college football on New Year’s Day here in Texas.”
“The Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame provides the perfect opportunity to properly and permanently recognize these heroes and unique personalities who helped establish the Classic as one of college football’s premier events,” said Stan Sigman, president and CEO of Southwestern Bell. “Over just the past few years, the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame has become home to a virtual who’s who of college football legends.”
The Class of 2001 is the fourth to be inducted into the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. The inaugural Class of 1998 included Syracuse halfback Jim Brown, Texas quarterback Bobby Layne, Rice halfback Dicky Maegle, Texas coach Darrell Royal, Cotton Bowl Founder J. Curtis Sanford, “Mr. Cotton Bowl” Field Scovell and SMU halfback Doak Walker.
The Class of 1999 featured TCU quarterback Sammy Baugh, Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, Kilgore Rangerettes founder Gussie Nell Davis, Houston linebacker David Hodge, Cotton Bowl team selection chairman Felix McKnight, and Texas quarterback James Street.
A year ago, the Class of 2000 honored Alabama and Kentucky coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Texas quarterback Duke Carlisle, Texas A&M linebacker Johnny Holland, Texas A&M fullback John Kimbrough, longtime network announcer Lindsey Nelson, Navy quarterback Roger Staubach and TCU halfback Jim Swink.
Hometown: Smyrna, Tennessee 1940 Classic: Clemson 6, Boston College 3 1950 Classic: Rice 27, North Carolina 13 1954 Classic: Rice 28, Alabama 6 1958 Classic: Navy 20, Rice 7 Classic Coaching Record: 3-1-0
For those who knew him or simply admired his remarkable ability to motivate players, Jess Neely was a true coaching legend. Neely prowled the Rice sideline for 27 seasons where he put together an unparalleled record of achievement. He guided the Owls to three Cotton Bowl appearances in the 1950s and is remembered most for the Owls 28-6 thrashing of Alabama in the 1954 Classic. Neely paid his initial coaching visit to the Cotton Bowl in 1940 when his Clemson Tigers defeated Boston College, 6-3, and was the first coach to guide more than one university to the Cotton Bowl. It’s well documented that some of the Classic’s greatest moments came under Neely’s watch. In four New Year’s Day appearances, he built a solid 3-1-0 winning record.
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