2014 Speaker Lineup
For Lovers of The Game
Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Fisher attended North View Junior High School and Liberty High School before going to Salem College (now Salem International University) in Salem, West Virginia where he played quarterback under head coach Terry Bowden from 1985–1986. When Bowden left for Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, Fisher transferred with him to play his final season for the Bulldogs where he was named Division III National Player of the Year. The greatest influences in Fisher’s life have been his parents, John James and Gloria Fisher. His late father, a coal miner and farmer who demanded accountability from sons Jimbo and Bryan, helped them understand the value of hard work from an early age. Those lessons extended beyond the family farm and home and onto the fields and courts as a promising young football, basketball and baseball player. Fisher and his wife Candi have two sons, Trey and Ethan.
Fisher played one season in the Arena Football League in 1988 for the Chicago Bruisers. He then went on to join Terry Bowden’s staff at Samford as a graduate assistant and eventually the offensive coordinator. He moved on to Auburn University from 1993-1998. Following one season at Cincinnati he moved on to LSU from 2000-2006 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was a finalist for the 2001 Frank Broyles Award, presented to the nation’s top assistant coach. Fisher has had three of his quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL draft; JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel. Following his stay in Baton Rouge he accepted the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach job at Florida State University.
After guiding the Seminoles offensive for three seasons he took over as head coach prior to the 2010 season. He led the `Noles to a 10-4 mark in 2010 – the most wins by a first-year coach in FSU history – and the first of three ACC Atlantic Division titles. He followed with a 9-4 season in 2011 and improved to 12-2 in year three before the perfect 14-0 and National Championship winning 2013 campaign.
The Seminoles became the sixth team ever to win 14 games and the first ACC team ever to accomplish the feat. Fisher was named AFCA Regional Coach of the Year for Region 1 in 2013 and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year awards.
Houston Nutt, Jr. was born in Arkansas. He is the son of the late Houston Dale Nutt, Sr., and Emogene Nutt and is the oldest of four children. Wife Diana, like Houston, graduated from Oklahoma State University. They have four children together: Houston III, twins Hailey and Hanna, and Haven. Nutt initially played collegiately at Arkansas and started four games as a true freshman. After a coaching change Nutt transferred to Oklahoma State and played two years before graduating in 1981 with a degree in Physical Education.
After being a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State and Arkansas he went on to coach receivers and quarterbacks at Oklahoma State in 1984 and became offensive coordinator in 1989 and coached Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders as well as future Buffalo Bills legend Thurman Thomas. Nutt returned to Arkansas in 1990 as an assistant and got his first head coaching job at Murray State in 1993. He went 11-1 in 1995 at Murray State and won the Ohio Valley Coach of the Year as well at the Eddie Robinson National Division 1-AA Coach of the Year Award. He moved on to become the head coach of Boise State for the 1997 season before becoming the head coach at Arkansas from 1998-2007.
While at Arkansas Nutt won the SEC West twice and was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2006. Nutt was also named The Football News Division 1-A Coach of the Year in 1998. In his final game at Arkansas the Razorbacks beat #1 ranked and eventual national champion LSU 50-48.
Nutt was hired at Ole Miss shortly after his resignation at Arkansas. In his first season in Oxford he was named the SEC Coach of the Year and the Rebels defeated the eventual National Champions Florida Gators in Gainesville. He led the Rebels to the Cotton Bowl in his first two seasons in Oxford.
Known affectionately by family and FAMU fans as “The Hitman,” Holmes played for the Rattlers from 1992 to 1995, finishing as the school’s all-time leader in tackles. Holmes captured NCAA Division I-AA and Black College All-American honors in 1994 and 1995, and was selected as the Sheridan Broadcasting Network College Defensive Player of the Year as well as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1995.
A three-time first team All-MEAC selections, Holmes was a devastating tackler while at Florida A&M, completing his career with 509 total tackles, 309 solo takedowns and 200 assisted tackles – all Rattler career records. Holmes also finished his playing days at FAMU with eight career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, with 38 tackles for loss, 6.5 quarterback sacks, 32 pass break-ups and a trio of fumble recoveries. His 1995 senior season totals shattered all existing school marks for season solo tackles (103) and total tackles (171).
Following his collegiate career, Holmes was drafted in the fourth round of the 1996 National Football League drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 10 seasons in the NFL at linebacker, six with Pittsburgh (1996-2001), one season with the Cleveland Browns (2002) and three with the Detroit Lions (2003-05) before retiring. A solid, run-stopping middle linebacker in the NFL, Holmes totaled 958 career tackles (685 solos), with 89 tackles for loss, 29 pass deflections and five recovered fumbles in 10 seasons.
In 2009, he returned to Florida A&M to serve on the coaching staff of Joe Taylor, eventually rising to defensive coordinator in 2012. Just before the end of the season, Taylor retired, and Holmes was named as interim head coach. On January 11, 2013 he was officially named the head coach and interim tag was removed.
A member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Holmes was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He and his wife Tiffany reside in Tallahassee are the proud parents of one son, Earl Jr.
Marvin Jones was one of the finest linebackers in the history of college football. In 1992, Jones became the first Florida State player to capture two national awards in the same year when he earned both the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and the Lombardi Award signifying the nation’s top linemen.
Jones was born in Miami, FL and played High School football at Miami Northwestern. He was named a USA Today High School All-American in 1989.
A stunning combination of speed, strength, and instinct, Jones terrorized FSU opponents. He was called the finest linebacker in college football history by a number of experts over his FSU career. Nicknamed “Shade Tree” after resting under one following an early FSU practice his freshmen year, Jones went on to become such an intense competitor that opposing offenses all but conceded running the ball up the middle on the Seminoles.
Jones tallied 111 tackles and seven tackles for a loss as a junior in 1992, while leading the Seminoles to an 11-1 record. He made 10 or more tackles in nine games and finished fourth in the balloting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy. Jones finished his career a two-time consensus All-American and a first team All-ACC choice in 1992.
Jones was selected with the fourth pick of the 1992 draft following his junior season by the New York Jets. At that time, it was the highest an FSU player had ever been selected in the NFL draft. He had over 1,000 careen takes in the NFL as well as 9 sacks and 5 interceptions. Jones was named a first team All-Pro in 2000.
Jim Grobe (born February 17, 1952) is an American football coach and former player. He was most recently the head coach at Wake Forest University from 2001 to 2013. From 1995 to 2000, Grobe served as the head coach at Ohio University.
Grobe earned his undergraduate degree (B.S.) in education from the University of Virginia in 1975 and earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Virginia in 1978. As a player at Virginia in 1973 and 1974, Grobe played middle guard (1973) and linebacker (1974). He was a two-year starter for the Virginia Cavaliers and was named Academic All-ACC..
Grobe and his wife Holly have two sons, Matt and Ben. Matt is a 1995 Marshall University graduate who currently works as the head golf professional at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club in Las Vegas. Matt and his wife, Melanie, have a daughter, Mackenzie, and a son, Cameron.
In 2006, Grobe led Wake Forest to a school record 11 wins with a perfect 6–0 road record. His Wake Forest team also won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship by virtue of defeating Georgia Tech, 9–6, in the conference title game. The Demon Deacons earned their first trip to a BCS bowl game and played Louisville in the Orange Bowl. Grobe was named the ACC Coach of the Year, receiving 80 out of 80 votes from the league’s media and making him the sixth Wake Forest coach to win the award. Grobe was also awarded the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award and the AP Coach of the Year in 2006.
Howard Schnellenberger (born March 16, 1934) is a retired American football coach with long service at both the professional and college levels. He was most recently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, he also coached for Oklahoma, Louisville, Miami, where his team won a national championship, and the Baltimore Colts. He also worked extensively as an assistant coach at the college and pro levels, including as part of the staff of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. Schnellenberger is also famous for recruiting Joe Namath to Alabama for Bear Bryant in 1961.
Schnellenberger arrived to a Miami program that was on its last legs, with the program having almost been dropped by the university just a few years prior. Drawing from the boot camp methodology learned from mentors Bryant and Shula and a pro-style pass-oriented playbook not yet the norm in college football, Miami developed a passing game that allowed them to have advantage over teams not equipped to defend such an attack. By his third season at Miami, the team had finished the season in the AP Poll top 25 twice—something that had not happened there since 1966.
He coached Miami to a national championship in 1983, defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. In 1985, Schnellenberger returned to his hometown to coach another struggling program, the University of Louisville Cardinals. Schnellenberger inherited a situation that was as bad, if not worse, than what he’d inherited at Miami. After going 8–24–1 in his first three years, Schnellenberger was able to turn the program around and go 24–9–1 the next three seasons. In 10 years, he led the Cardinals to their fourth and fifth bowl games in school history.
In 2008, Coach Schnellenberger led his 6-6 FAU Owls to a post-season bid at the Motor City Bowl against the Central Michigan Chippewa’s. This marked the first time a 6-6 Sun Belt Conference team that had not won the Conference Championship was invited to a post-season bowl. Although the Owls were underdogs, Coach Schnellenberger extended his post-season bowl record to 6-0, the most of any coach without a loss, with a 24-21 win. After his retirement, Schnellenberger was retained by Florida Atlantic University and named the first ever “Ambassador at large” his main responsibility is to help drive fundraising efforts for the athletic department. When Miami and FAU met in 2013, the former coach was lauded as honorary captain for both teams.
Lloyd Henry Carr, Jr. (born July 30, 1945). He served as the head football coach at the University of Michigan from 1995 through the 2007 season. Under Carr, the Michigan Wolverines compiled a record of 122–40 and won or shared five Big Ten Conference titles (1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2004). Carr’s 1997 team was declared the national champion by the Associated Press. His record coaching against top ten-ranked opponents was 19–8. Carr was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2011. Carr was among the winningest active football coaches in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). His teams won five Big Ten titles and the 1997 national championship after beating Washington State in the Rose Bowl. In addition, Michigan was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for all but nine of its games under Carr (all occurring in 1998, 2005, and 2007). Only once during his tenure did Michigan end its season unranked (2005). Carr became the first Wolverine coach to win four straight bowl games, beating Auburn, 31–28, in the 2001 Citrus Bowl, after leading Michigan to victories in the 1998 Rose Bowl, 1999 Citrus Bowl, and the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Carr was also lauded for his high ethical standards and avoidance of any substantive NCAA violations during his tenure. His integrity was widely lauded as one of his defining characteristics, and a major part of his legacy.
Carr posted a .500 or better record against two of Michigan’s three top rivals, going 5–4 against Notre Dame and 10–3 against Michigan State. Carr also recorded a 9–2 record against Penn State.
Dan Reeves spent 23 years coaching for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. He played or coached in a record nine Super Bowls – five with the Dallas Cowboys, three with Denver and one with Atlanta. Prior to coaching, he also spent 16 years in the Cowboys organization – five as a player, three as a player/coach and eight as an assistant coach.
Reeves was born in Rome, Georgia in 1944. He attended the University of South Carolina, where he played quarterback from 1962-1964. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.
In 1965, Reeves signed as a free agent with the Cowboys. Over eight seasons as an all-purpose back, Reeves amassed 1,990 rushing yards and 1,693 receiving yards. His best year came in 1966 when he scored 16 touchdowns, which tied him in the NFL that season for most touchdowns. Reeves finished his playing career as the Cowboys’ fifth all-time leading rusher. The Cowboys made the playoffs every year of Reeves’ playing career, reaching the Super Bowl twice and winning Super Bowl VI with a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Reeves’ coaching career began when he joined the Dallas coaching staff in 1970, taking on a dual role as player/coach for three seasons. He was a full-time offensive backfield coach in 1972 and spent 1973 in private business before rejoining the staff again as backfield coach in 1974. He accepted the job of offensive coordinator in 1977.
In 1981, Reeves was named head coach of the Denver Broncos. During his 12-year tenure in Denver, Reeves guided the Broncos to six post-season appearances, including five divisional titles, three AFC championships and three Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl XXI, XXII and XXIV). He was the only AFC coach in the decade of the 1980s to lead his team to consecutive Super Bowl berths. His overall record in Denver was 110-73-1.
In 1993, Reeves left Denver to become head coach of the New York Giants, where he served as head coach for four seasons and compiled a 31-33 record. In his first season, he led the Giants to an 11–5 record and a berth in the playoffs, the best record ever for a Giants first-year coach. Reeves was named the 1993 Associated Press Coach of the Year after helping the Giants improve from a 6-10 record the year before.
In 1997, Reeves was named head coach of the Falcons, where he coached for seven seasons and compiled a record of 49-59-1. After going 7-9 his first season, Reeves led Atlanta to its greatest season in franchise history and was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1998. That year, the Falcons went 14–2 in route to winning its first NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they were defeated by the Broncos, 34-19.