AFL Hall of Fame Class Announced
April 17, 2002 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) News Release
CHICAGO (April 17, 2002) -The Arena Football Hall of Fame Operating Board of Directors officially announced today five inductees for the Arena Football Hall of Fame Class of 2002. The Class consists of one coach, one executive and three former AFL players. Joining 18 other Hall of Fame members are former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current Arizona Rattlers head coach DANNY WHITE, owner of the four-time ArenaBowl champion Detroit Drive, MIKE ILITCH, lineman JOHN CORKER, AFL Ironman FRED GAYLES and offensive specialist REGGIE SMITH.
The Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 in Des Moines, Iowa. An announcement regarding plans for an induction ceremony will be made within the next few weeks.
The Class of 2002 inductees include (alphabetical order):
JOHN CORKER, Lineman, Detroit Drive 1988, 1990-93, Miami Hooters 1994-95. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound lineman brought a dominant pass-rush to the league, skills which earned the product of Oklahoma State Lineman of the Year honors in 1991, when he led the league with eight sacks. Corker earned a pair of ArenaBowl championships with the Detroit Drive during his seven-year career.
FRED GAYLES, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, Denver Dynamite 1989, Albany Firebirds 1990-96, New York CityHawks 1997, Grand Rapids Rampage 1998. An early-day "Ironman" who was the definition of a "possession receiver" following his collegiate career at Western State (CO). The 6-foot, 205-pound two-way 10-year standout had four seasons of more than 50 receptions and garnered four second-team All-Arena selections.
MIKE ILITCH, Executive. Owner of the most successful team in league history - the Detroit Drive (1988-93.) The Drive made a trip to the title game in each of the six years of their existence, capturing four titles in the process. The Drive had 31 All-Arena selections, three Most Valuable Player Award winners, one Ironman of the Year, one Lineman of the Year and a Kicker of the Year. The team had a 46-10 record (.821) during the regular season and a 12-2 mark (.857) in the postseason.
REGGIE SMITH, Offensive Specialist, Chicago Bruisers 1987-89, Albany Firebirds 1990. "Super Gnat" was the premier kick specialist of his time. Listed at 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, he accumulated 2,371 return yards and is credited with returning the first kickoff for a touchdown in league history.
DANNY WHITE, Head coach, Arizona Rattlers 1993-current. As the only head coach in Arizona Rattlers history, White has guided his team to the postseason in nine of organization's 10 seasons and two ArenaBowl Championships (1994 and 1997). During the 2001 season, he earned his 100th win as head coach - only the second AFL coach to ever reach the mark.
Other finalists for induction to the Hall of Fame were (alphabetical order):
NOVO BOJOVIC, Kicker, Detroit Drive 1988-91.
KIM CLEMENTS, Executive.
RUSSELL HAIRSTON, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, Pittsburgh Gladiators 1987-88, New England Steamrollers 1988, Washington Commandos 1990.
MIKE HOHENSEE, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Gladiators 1987-88.
QUINTON KNIGHT, Lineman, New York Knights 1988, Denver Dynamite 1989-90, Orlando Predators 1991, Detroit Drive 1992, Massachusetts Marauders 1994, Tampa Bay Storm 1994-95, Miami Hooters 1995.
GENE NUDO, Executive.
VITO "BABE" PARILLI, Head coach, New England Steamrollers 1988, Denver Dynamite 1989-91, Charlotte Rage 1992, Las Vegas Sting 1994-95, Anaheim Piranhas 1996, Florida Bobcats 1997.
BILLY STONE, Fullback/Linebacker, Chicago Bruisers 1987-89.
KENNY STUCKER, Kicker, Milwaukee Mustangs 1994-99.
Candidates were selected by the Nominating Committee and were chosen from five categories: players, coaches, administrators (owners and front office), officials and at-large. The criteria for player nomination are as follows: if a player played before 1989, he must have played for two seasons. For players after 1989, three seasons of service are required. All players must be retired for two complete seasons. Coaches are required to have been active for a minimum of five seasons and need not be retired.
The Arena Football League consists of 23 teams including eight in the 10 largest U.S. media markets. Sixteen teams will kickoff the AFL's 16th season on April 19, 2002 including new teams in Atlanta (Georgia Force) and Dallas (Desperados). An additional seven expansion teams have already been approved to begin to play over the next three years. Early last month, NBC Sports and the AFL reached a broadcast agreement to begin in 2003.
Teams competing in the 2002 AFL season are: Arizona Rattlers, Buffalo Destroyers, Carolina Cobras, Chicago Rush, Dallas Desperados, Detroit Fury, Georgia Force, Grand Rapids Rampage, Indiana Firebirds, Los Angeles Avengers, New Jersey Gladiators, New York Dragons, Orlando Predators, San Jose SaberCats, Tampa Bay Storm and Toronto Phantoms.
ARENA FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
INAUGURAL CLASS OF 1998
DWAYNE DIXON. WR/DB, 6-3, 203. Florida. Washington (1987), Detroit (1988-91). Ironman of the Year (1988). Member of Detroit's 3 straight championship teams (1988-90). Held record for most receptions (20) and receiving yardage (264) in a single game.
JAMES FOSTER. Founder, Arena Football League. Commissioner (1987-92). Owner/Pres., Iowa Barnstormers, (1995-2001). Executive of the Year, 1995-96.
JERRY KURZ. V.P. International Expansion/Gridiron Enterprises, Inc., (1990-current). Distinguished member of the AFL's Executive Committee.
TIM MARCUM. Head Coach, Denver (1987), Detroit (1988-90, 1991-93), Tampa Bay, (1995-current). All-time winningest coach, with overall record of 136-42. Six titles with Denver (1987), Detroit (1988-89) and Tampa Bay (1995-96).
GARY MULLEN. WR/DB. 5-11, 170. West Virginia. Denver (1987), Los Angeles (1988), Detroit (1989-92), Cincinnati (1993), Milwaukee (1994). All-Arena (1987-88, 1990). Member of 4 championship teams (1987, 1989-90, '92).
TATE RANDLE. DS. 6-1, 205. Texas Tech. Detroit (1990-92). First-team All-Arena (1991). Won two championships with the Drive (1990, '92). Totaled 14 career interceptions.
ALVIN RETTIG. FB/LB. 5-11, 200. Rice. Detroit (1988-93). Member of 4 championship teams (1988, '89, '90, '92). ArenaBowl Ironman (1990). First-team All-Arena (1992). Led league in sacks with 11 in 1992. Holds single-game record of 5 sacks. Rushed for 523 yards and 16 TD's.
CRAIG WALLS. OL/DL. 6-2, 215. Indiana. Pittsburgh (1987-88). First-team All-Arena (1987-88). Won an ArenaBowl title in 1987. Collected 25 career sacks, including 13 in one season.
CLASS OF 1999
JAY GRUDEN. QB. 6-1, 215. Louisville. Tampa Bay (1991-96). The AFL's own version of John Elway, Gruden amassed 15,514 passing yards and 280 TD's while leading the Storm to 4 championships (1991, '93, '95-96). League MVP (1992). First-team All-Arena (1992, '95). ArenaBowl MVP (1993). Won 68 of his 81 total games, including 12 of 14 playoff contests.
DURWOOD "ROCK" ROQUEMORE. DS. 6-1, 190. Texas A&I. Chicago (1987-88), Albany (1990), Orlando (1991-96). First-team All-Arena 5 times (1988, '90, '92-94). All-time leader with 50 interceptions.
JON ROEHLK. OL/DL. 6-2, 285. Iowa. Washington (1987), Detroit (1988-93), Miami, (1994), Iowa (1995-96). Member of 4 championship teams (1988-90, ' 92). Six title game appearances in 6 seasons.
GARY VITTO. GM of the AFL's "first" dynasty, the Detroit Drive (1988-93). His teams appeared in the championship 6 straight years from 1988-93, winning 4, including 3 straight (1988-90). Gary passed away in December of 2001.
CLASS OF 2000
BEN BENNETT. QB. 6-2, 200. Duke. Chicago (1988-89), Dallas (1990), Orlando (1991-95), San Jose (1996), Portland (1997). Led 3 different teams to 5 ArenaBowls in 10 seasons. League MVP (1988). First-team All-Arena (1988, 1993-94). Accumulated 14,169 passing yards and 267 TD passes.
CARL AIKENS. WR/DB. 6-1, 185. Northern Illinois. Chicago (1988-89), Dallas (1990-91), Orlando (1992-93), Milwaukee (1994). Ironman of the Year (1989). First-team All-Arena (1988-90). Played in three ArenaBowls (1988, '90, '92).
HERCULES "HERKIE" WALLS. WR/DB. 5-8, 165. Texas. Orlando (1991-96). Played on 3 ArenaBowl teams (1992, '94-95). Totaled 207 receptions, 2,924 yards and 54 TDs along with more than 4,000 return yards in six-year career.
JOE MARCH. OL/DL. 6-3, 270. Murray State. Denver (1991), Sacramento (1992), Milwaukee (1993), Tampa Bay (1993-96), Nashville (1997). Recorded 12.5 sacks in his rookie season. First-team All-Arena (1991). Member of three ArenaBowl title teams with Storm (1993, '95-96).
PERRY MOSS. Head Coach, Chicago (1988), Detroit (1990), Orlando (1990-97). Three-time Coach of the Year (1988, '92, '94). Eighty-six career wins, while leading 5 different teams to the championship game, winning it in '90. Had five seasons of 11 or more wins.
GLENN MAZULA. Owner, Albany/Indiana Firebirds (1990-current). Has seen his team become 3rd most successful with 82 victories. Under his leadership, Firebirds had won 6 division titles and the ArenaBowl (1999) before relocating to Indianapolis. Team was presented with the Commissioner's Award in 1994.
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