Former Clemson Coach Danny Ford and South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier to be inducted to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame.
ATLANTA (Dec. 31, 2016) – Clemson’s Danny Ford and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier headline the class of inductees into the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame, as announced today by Bowl officials.
“As a Bowl we have been blessed to host some of college football’s greatest coaches and this inductee class is a great example of the best of the best,” said Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan. “Each of these men represents core values of determination, character and leadership and deserves to be inducted in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame.”
A former Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida, Spurrier’s coaching career spanned more than 30 years. His first collegiate head coaching position came with Duke in 1987. During his time in Durham, he was named the ACC Coach of the Year in both 1988 and 1989, and hi 1989 team won the ACC title, Duke’s first since 1962 and most recent to-date.
Spurrier returned to his alma mater at Florida in 1990 and went on to become the winningest coach in the football program’s history, winning six SEC titles and the 1996 national championship. After leaving Florida in 2001 for the NFL, he returned to the collegiate level and the SEC, taking the South Carolina job in 2005. He similarly brought the South Carolina program to unprecedented levels of success, leading the Gamecocks to three of the four 10-win seasons in program history, as well as the school’s only 11-win season, top-10 poll finishes, and its only SEC Championship Game appearance. He coached the Gamecocks in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl, one of his 21 bowl appearances as a collegiate head coach. Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Spurrier retired as the winningest coach at both Florida and South Carolina, a feat only accomplished by one other SEC coach all-time, the esteemed Bear Bryant. Spurrier trails only Bryant in total SEC wins. In July 2016, Spurrier returned to the University of Florida as an ambassador and consultant to the athletic department. In September 2016, his name was added to the Gators’ home field, changing its official name to Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Danny Ford spent 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach, most notably for 12 years at Clemson from 1978-1989, followed by a five-year stint at Arkansas. Ford compiled a 96–29–4 (.760) record at Clemson, including a 6–2 bowl record. He is second on the school’s wins list, behind only Frank Howard. During his 11 seasons at Clemson, Ford also coached 21 All-Americans and 41 players who went on to play in the NFL. Ford took over following the 1978 season, leading the Tigers to a Gator Bowl win. In his first full season as head coach, he led Clemson to an eight-win regular season, earning his team a berth in the 1979 Peach Bowl. Clemson would go on to appear in seven more Peach Bowls to-date, the most appearances of any team.
Following the 1979 season, Coach Ford would go on to win five ACC championships. In 1981, Ford led Clemson to a 12–0 record and the national championship, the first and only national title in the school’s 98-year history.. Ford became the youngest coach, at age 33, to win a national championship.
Established in 2002, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame honors former players, coaches and contributors, as well as staff and volunteers, who have had a significant impact on the Bowl. There are currently 44 members, including players such as Mike Singletary, Reggie White and Jim Kelly, and coaches including Bobby Dodd, Vince Dooley and Lou Holtz. Ford and Spurrier will be honored during an on-field ceremony prior to kickoff.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Volunteer Hall of Fame
This year the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Volunteer Hall of Fame is honoring two longtime volunteers for their service.
With a combined 60 years with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Mel Halfon and Bruce Olecki have been instrumental in the growth of the Bowl to where it now sits as a part of the College Football Playoff.
“Our volunteers have been essential to our ability to put on memorable bowl week experiences for our players and fans, and that especially includes these two fine gentleman,” said Stokan. “These two have been here for a combined six decades, selflessly giving their time not only around the holidays, but throughout the whole year. On behalf of our entire staff, it’s my privilege to be able to honor them with this induction.”
In his 31 consecutive years of service to the Bowl, Halfon has been involved with a number of committees and departments. He currently is a member of the Hospitality Committee and oversees hospitality services for the media.
Halfon previously served as the chairman of the Event Signage Committee and was responsible for overseeing signage installation at the various host hotels, Bowl Week events and at the stadium for game day. He also served on the Corporate Ticket Sales Committee and won numerous “Top Gun” awards for successful sales campaigns.
Olecki, a 29-year veteran of the Bowl, currently serves as the chairman of the Hospitality Committee. He worked with the media hospitality team for three years before becoming the chairman of the entire hospitality operation, a role he has held for the past 26 bowl games. He is responsible for hosting various VIPs, from the media, to school officials and key sponsors.
He served on the Team Marketing and Selection Committee for eight years and currently is a member of the Board of Advisors. Olecki, along with other members of the Board, travels across the country to a number of key college football games to represent the Bowl and build relationships with coaches, athletic directors and other university administrators.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has long been known as the preeminent hospitality bowl in the country due in large part to its more than 400 dedicated and passionate volunteers. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Volunteer Hall of Fame was created in 2012 to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions of its volunteer force in a meaningful way.
About Peach Bowl, Inc.:
Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and one of New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. In 2014-15, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will hosted top nationally ranked teams as assigned by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. In 2016, the Bowl will host its first College Football Playoff Semifinal (#1 Alabama vs. #4 Washington). The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 54 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $150 million in team payouts over its 48-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $21 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also owns and manages the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament and The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award. For more information, visit Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com or follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/ChickfilAPeachBowl.