Legendary Cougar Coach Joins Cotton Bowl Hall

DALLAS - Bill Yeoman, who guided the University of Houston football program from relative obscurity to national prominence in two-and-a-half decades, is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in May. Yeoman becomes the second member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame from UH, joining former Cougar standout David Hodge, who was inducted in 1999.

Southwestern Bell and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association announced the Class of 2001 on Thursday. The inductees also 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 and Texas split end Charles "Cotton" Speyrer.

Yeoman was the head football coach for the Cougars for a remarkable 25 seasons (1962-86), leading the UH football team to a school record 160 wins and a .597 winning percentage. Yeoman led the Cougars to four Cotton Bowls, including an impressive 30-21 win over previously unbeaten Maryland in Houston's first year to become eligible for the postseason game. The Cougars had captured the 1976 Southwest Conference championship in their first year in the league.

Overall, Yeoman guided the Cougars to four SWC championships and 11 bowl games, posting a 6-4-1 mark in postseason competition. The Cougars had 17 winning seasons under Yeoman, including nine campaigns with at least eight victories. UH finished nationally ranked 11 times, concluding the 1976 season with its highest ever national ranking of fourth by both the Associated Press and United Press International.

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 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." A 35-member judging committee comprised of media representatives and athletic administrators voted from a list of 52 original nominees that included players, coaches, bowl administrators and others who have made special contributions to the Classic.

Selection criteria for the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame include the following:

  • Voting is based solely upon an individual's performance in, or contribution to, the Classic rather than on the person's college or professional career.

  • An individual is eligible five years after his final Classic appearance.

    "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. The Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame is one of several events developed by Southwestern Bell and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association to extend the Classic to the community and to future generations. These activities include the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Football Fest during the State Fair of Texas, the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Art Contest involving 6,500 elementary children from Dallas and Richardson, and the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl New Year's Eve Parade and pep rallies in Fair Park.



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