DALLAS – The University of Arkansas and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will jointly honor Ronnie Caveness this Saturday, Sept. 25, during an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute as the Razorbacks host Alabama in Fayetteville. The game, which is the first meeting between top-10 teams in Fayetteville since 1979, starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be aired on CBS.
"We are looking forward to hosting Ronnie Caveness and the National Football Foundation for a special weekend honoring a true Razorback legend," said Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long. "The On-Campus Salute will give Razorback fans an opportunity to show their appreciation for Ronnie’s distinguished career at the University of Arkansas. Ronnie was an accomplished two-way player who helped guide the Razorbacks to a perfect season and the 1964 national championship. We are extremely proud of Ronnie’s accomplishments and are excited about his induction into the College Hall of Fame."
In May, the NFF announced that Caveness, a First Team All-American center for the Razorbacks, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) class. Throughout the season, each inductee returns to his alma mater for a special on-field event where a plaque is unveiled for permanent display at the school. Beginning with the NFF’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1951, the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute has served as the first of numerous highlights in the Hall of Fame experience, giving each inductee one more chance to take the field and hear the roar of the crowd.
"We are extremely excited to participate in Saturday’s on-campus salute to honor Ronnie Caveness," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "Ronnie Caveness became a force at Arkansas, distinguishing himself as a key player in the Razorbacks run to the nation championship in 1964. He clearly built a record that deserves to be forever preserved in the College Football Hall of Fame."
One of the last Arkansas players to start on both sides of the ball, Ronnie Caveness dominated the opposition from 1962-64. Named a First Team All-Southwest Conference selection at both center and linebacker during his senior campaign, Caveness helped Arkansas to the 1964 conference and national championships on a team that was coached Hall of Famer Frank Broyles and included modern day football luminaries Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson. Caveness holds the Razorbacks record for most tackles made in consecutive seasons (309). Forty-five years later, he also still holds the top two spots on the school’s rankings for most tackles in a game (29 and 25, respectively). The team captain was Arkansas’ leading tackler in 21 straight games.
"Elated is not the right word to use but that’s the only thing I can think of. I’m getting a lot of calls from my teammates, and it’s just exciting for the University of Arkansas," said Caveness at the time of the announcement. "I feel honored to be even associated with the same names. I don’t mind telling you I feel very humbled. It’s just mind-boggling to me that I can be in the elite group that these guys are."
Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1965, Caveness spent one year with the franchise before spending the remainder of his five-year professional career with the Oilers and Patriots. Following his playing days, he became a sales manager and also served as president of the Little Rock Razorback Club. Caveness has been named to the Arkansas All-Century Team, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Cotton Bowl Classic All-Decade Team for the 1960s. He and his wife Teresa have two children and reside in Little Rock, Ark.
Razorbacks players previously inducted into the hall of fame include Lance Alworth (1984), Chuck Dicus (1999), Wayne Harris (2004), Loyd Phillips (1992), Wear Schoonover (1967), Clyde Scott (1971) and Billy Ray Smith (2000). For a complete list of players and coaches in the hall, please visit www.collegefootball.org.
The 2010 Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City’s historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, December 7. For tickets to the Dec. 7 induction in New York, please contact Will Rudd at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 972-556-1000.
The National Hall of Fame Salute at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl follows on January 1, giving the class recognition on a national stage, and events culminate with the College Football Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Festival in the summer of 2011 in South Bend, Ind.
This year’s hall of fame class includes Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State); Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas); Ray Childress (Texas A&M); Randy Cross (UCLA); Sam Cunningham (Southern California); Mark Herrmann (Purdue); Clarkston Hines (Duke); Desmond Howard (Michigan); Chet Moeller (Navy); Jerry Stovall (LSU); Pat Tillman (Arizona State); Alfred Williams (Colorado); and coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, Alabama).
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE HALL OF FAMEFounded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings.