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Konica Minolta Gator Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2007 is Legendary

The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl announced today members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

 

JACKSONVILLE, FL. — The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl announced today members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.  This year’s induction class includes the legendary coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and local civic leader, the Honorable Donald R. Davis.  Accepting the posthumous award on behalf of Coach Bryant and his family will be former Heisman Trophy winner John David Crowe, Howard Payne, Lloyd Taylor and Charles Milstead.

The Gator Bowl Coaches Luncheon and Hall of Fame Induction will take place at 12:00 noon on December 31 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  In addition to the induction ceremony, Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach and Virginia Head Coach Al Groh will also be featured speakers. Emcee for this event will be Verne Lundquist, Play-By-Play Announcer for CBS Sports.

Tickets are available for $25 and can be purchased online at www.gatorbowl.com.


PAUL WILLIAM “BEAR” BRYANT
University of Alabama Head Football Coach
1913-1983

Inarguably, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant is one of the greatest football coaches in history. He arrived in Tuscaloosa as head coach of his alma mater, The University of Alabama, in 1958, when, as he said at the time “Mama called”. The turnaround at Alabama was immediate. After winning a combined four games the previous three years, the Tide went 5-4-1 in Bryant's first season. The next year, in 1959, Alabama beat Auburn and appeared in a bowl game, the first time either had happened in the previous six years.

It was two years later, however, in 1961, that Alabama fully regained its previous dominance and a Bryant-coached team first ascended to the national championship of college football. The 1961 team went 11-0 and defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national title; the defense allowed a mere 25 points all season, compiling six shutouts, five of them coming consecutively.

When Bryant finished his career after the 1982 season, he held a 323-85-17 record, which made him the winningest coach in the history of collegiate football at the time. He averaged 8.5 wins per season during his 38-year career as head coach. Furthermore, his teams have averaged over 10 wins a year over the last decade of his career, and his teams of 1977-80 won more games than any team in history for a four year period by claiming 44 wins.

His 25-year record at Alabama was 232-46-9, an average of 9.3 wins per year and a winning percentage of .824.

Six of Bryant’s teams won national championships, those coming in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, and 1979. Six other times his teams had legitimate shots at winning the national title at season’s end, but lost it on the field four times and were shutout at the polls the other two.

Bryant personally took part in 31 bowl games, 29 as a head coach, one as a player and the other as an assistant coach.

Coach Bryant coached two teams that made appearances in the Gator Bowl Classic.  As Head Coach at Texas A&M he brought his team to play against Tennessee in the 13th Annual Gator Bowl game and returned as Head Coach of Alabama for the 24th Annual Gator Bowl game against Missouri.
 
Bryant was the 11th of 12 children who were born to William Monroe and Ida Kilgore Bryant in Moro Bottom, Arkansas. His nickname stemmed from his having agreed to wrestle a captive bear during a theater promotion when he was 13 years old.
 

GEORGE ROGERS

All-America running back George Rogers won the 1980 Heisman Trophy following his senior season at South Carolina, as he was recognized as the nation’s top collegiate football player. The Duluth, Ga., native was a consensus first-team All-America selection that year after leading the nation in rushing with 1,894 yards. Rogers went on to become the first player chosen in the 1981 NFL draft and starred for the New Orleans Saints before moving on to the Washington Redskins, where he helped lead his team to a Super Bowl Championship in 1988. Rogers was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1997.

George Rogers had many accomplishment throughout his football career.  In addition to his Heisman Trophy honors, Rogers was named the 1980 NCAA Back of the Year and the ABC-TV 1980 Player of the Year.  He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.  In 1981 he was named  the NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl selection and was the leading rusher in the NFL.  In 1988 George Rogers helped his team to a Super Bowl Championship with the Washington Redskins and in 1997 was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.
 

Rogers No. 38 jersey was retired by South Carolina following his final home game in 1980 the same year he appeared in the 36th Annual Gator Bowl Classic against Pittsburgh.  In that game he also earned Most Valuable Player honors.

George Rogers played in the 36th Annual Gator Bowl Classic against Pittsburgh where he earned the Most Valuable Player Award for the game.
 

DONALD R. DAVIS

Don Davis, Vice President of Corporate Relations for the Gate Petroleum Company, is publicly
known as one of Jacksonville’s most outstanding citizens and  equally recognized for the
numerous contributions he has made to the Jacksonville community.  He began his career in
public service as the At-Large representative on the Jacksonville City Council where he served in
that capacity for 12 years.  During his tenure, he served two terms at President of the Jacksonville
City Council.  He was then elected to the Florida House of Representative where he is currently
serving his second term.

Don Davis has a lifetime history of community involvement and has served at the helm of many organizations including the Gator Bowl Association.  He oversaw the January 1, 1989 Gator Bowl when Georgia played Michigan State in a historic game that showcased Vince Dooley winning his last game.

In addition to his civic accomplishments, Don Davis is a decorated veteran of the Korean War.  He resides with his wife, Alice and they have two sons, Robert and Dean and five grandchildren, Lindsay, Skylar, Robb, Deena and Ally.

Don Davis has been a staunch supporter of the Gator Bowl Association and with deep appreciation he will be remembered for his significant contributions that will remain etched in Gator Bowl history.

For Game week and game day information, please go to www.gatorbowl.com.

To obtain the official Konica Minolta Gator Bowl logo, please visit www.gbalogos.com

Visit www.KMBSsports.com to enter for your chance to win The Konica Minolta Ultimate Sports Experience.