2015 Speaker Lineup
Coach Jimbo Fisher
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.
Legendary Coach Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden is known as much for his affable charm as he is for his championship teams. Having coached young men
for seven decades, he is the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 football history. Bowden guided Florida State University to more than 300 victories, two national championships, 12 Atlantic Coast Conference titles, finishing in the top five in the country in 14 straight seasons, and he also led the FSU Seminoles to bowl games in 28 consecutive seasons during his 34-year tenure. The patriarch of college football’s most famous coaching family, Bowden remains heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, annually awarding The National Bobby Bowden Award to a student athlete for achievement on and off the field, including his conduct as a faith model in the community. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Born in Orlando, FL Nate Newton was a four sport star at Jones High School. Recruited by Division 1 schools he chose to go to FAMU to stay near home. He played both offensive and defensive line his sophomore year and moved exclusively to offensive line his Jr year and earned first team all MEAC his senior year. Newton played two years for the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL under head coach Steve Spurrier. He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys where he played from 1986-1998 earning 6 pro bowl selections, twice being named an all pro and three super bowl championships as a part of what is arguably one of the best offensive lines in NFL history.
Sherrill played 4 years for Coach Bear Bryant at Alabama from 1962 to 1966 winning two national championships for the Crimson Tide. He then took a graduate assistant position under Coach Bryant immediately afterwards. After stops at Iowa State and Pittsburgh he took his first head coaching job at Washington State for the 1976 season. Following one year with the Cougars he moved across the country to coach the Pittsburgh Panthers, he spent 5 years at Pitt winning four bowl games, finishing #2 in the Coaches Poll twice and grooming Dan Marino before his Hall of Fame NFL career began. In 1982 he took the head coaching position at Texas A&M. He is credited with starting the 12th man kickoff team at A&M and won three consecutive Southwest Confrence championships from 1985-1987. Following his tenure at A&M and a three year hiatus he accepted the Mississippi St job. He lead Mississippi St to their only SEC West championship in 1998, he had a winning record against rival Ole Miss and his 75 wins are the most in school history. He retired in 2003 and is now a analyist at Fox Sports Net and a writer at texags.com
Captain of the 1985 national championship team Spencer Tillman had a glory filled collegiate career including winning the Big 8 newcomer of the year award, the Big 8’s player of the year award and the Orange Bowl MVP. He spent his NFL career with the Houston Oilers and the San Francisco 49ers captaining the 49ers during a Super Bowl run capturing a Super Bowl ring. He spent his post playing days working for CBS Sports doing college football analysis, working NFL games with Tim Brando for the network as well as NCAA tournament sideline work. He has also worked with KPRC in Houston, Fox Sports and served as host of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. He hosts a radio show on KGOW in Houston and does a postgame show for the Houston Texans. He lives in Sugar Land, TX with his wife Rita and their four daughters.
Jack Lengyel has had a long and distinguished career in collegiate athletics. Mr. Jack Lengyel, who began his career as the freshman football coach at his alma mater Akron University, has been involved with intercollegiate athletics since 1957. As a coach, Mr. Jack Lengyel served as assistant football coach at Akron (1959), Heidelberg College (1961-62) and Cornell (1963-65). Mr. Lengyel was named head football and lacrosse coach at the College of Wooster in 1966 and remained there for four years.
However, Mr. Lengyel’s greatest task and achievement as a coach was rebuilding the football program and community at Marshall University after the tragic airline crash involving the entire team. Mr. Lengyel was head football coach at Marshall from 1971 to 1974. Warner Brothers produced the movie “We Are Marshall”, starring Matthew McConaughey as coach Jack Lengyel. After three years in the private sector at Gamble Brothers, Mr. Lengyel moved into the intercollegiate athletics administrative ranks as the associate director of athletics at Louisville (1980) and the University of Missouri (1981-84). Following his stint at Mizzou, Mr. Lengyel was named the director of athletics at Fresno State, which won the men’s basketball NIT Championship in 1984. Mr. Lengyel returned to Columbia, MO as their director of athletics in 1986.
Following his three-year stay at Missouri, Mr. Jack Lengyel was named as the director of athletics at the United States Naval Academy. Mr. Lengyel remained at Navy for 13 years and oversaw a 30 sport athletic department and was responsible for major sports facility new construction and renovations.
Following his retirement from Navy, Mr. Lengyel has been active as a consultant and serving in leadership positions in various community and professional organizations. Mr. Lengyel has served as the interim athletics director at Temple University, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Colorado providing leadership and stability through the administrative transition.
Among the honors and awards presented to Mr. Lengyel during his illustrious career include the John L. Toner Award (2005) and the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Athletics Award (2005) presented by the National Football Foundation; The Homer Rice Award (2005) presented by the Division I-A Athletic Director’s, and NACDA’s James J. Corbett Award (2001) to just name a few of Mr. Lengyel’s honors.
A three time all-american running back at Syracuse and NFL hall of famer Floyd Little had quite the football career. He had two top five finishes in the Heisman Trophy race and rushed for over 1000 yards in 1965. He was the first ever first round draft pick to sign with the Denver Broncos and was nicknamed ‘The Franchise.’ He retired as the league’s 7th leading rusher and was a captain for the Broncos for all 9 of his professional seasons. He was a three time pro bowler and was named to the Broncos Ring of Fame. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Jamboree – Hall of Famer Walter Jones
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Walter Jones was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 1, 2014, the day before Seattle defeated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII in New York/New Jersey. Jones was formally inducted in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, August 2, along with Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams. Jones joins Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy to enter the Hall of Fame representing the Seahawks for their entire careers.
Jones retired from the NFL on April 29, 2010. In his honor, the team immediately retired his number 71 jersey and Governor Christine Gregoire declared the following day, Walter Jones Day, urging all citizens to join her in saluting his remarkable career. Jones was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in a halftime ceremony on November 2, 2014.
Since coming to Seattle as a first-round pick in 1997, Jones started all 180 games played while becoming the most dominant left tackle of his time. In 13 seasons, he was called for holding nine times and in 5,703 pass attempts, surrendered just 23 sacks according to coaches statistics.
He was selected to nine Pro Bowls (1999, 2001-08), passing Cortez Kennedy for most in team history, and was also a six-time AP All-Pro (1st Team in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2nd Team in 2006 and 2008).
Seattle selected Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, which was acquired in a draft-day trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for Seattle’s first-round pick (#12, RB Warrick Dunn) and third-round pick (#66, CB Ronde Barber). He was named to his first Pro Bowl following the 1999 season, becoming the first Seattle offensive lineman to accomplish that feat. Jones was part of the offensive line that helped Shaun Alexander to the fourth-best (currently seventh) rushing game in NFL history with 266 yards vs. Oakland (11/11/01) and helped Alexander to an NFL-record five first-half touchdowns vs. Minnesota (9/29/02). In 2005, he paved the way for Alexander’s MVP year with a Seattle-record 1,880 rushing yards and then-NFL-record 28 total touchdowns.
Jones ranks fourth in Seattle history in games played (180) and second in games started (180). He also ranks tied for first in Seahawks history with 10 postseason games played and started in his career.
A second-team All-ACC selection as a junior, he transferred to Florida State after two seasons at Holmes (Miss.) Community College, where he was named Mississippi Junior College Player of the Year in 1994. Jones prepped at Aliceville (Ala.) High where he lettered in basketball and football.
Wood is a native of Massillon, Ohio, and was a standout football player and wrestler at Washington High School. He and his wife, Rosa, have three children–Jerrel, Alex and Natalie. Wood was the RB coach at the University of Miami helping the Hurricanes to a pair of National Championships. He was the head coach of James Madison University from 1995-1998 leading them to the playoffs in 1995. Wood also served as an assistant coach with the NFL’s Vikings, Bengals and Cardinals. He spent the previous four years at the University of Buffalo leading a prolific offense that averaged over 30 points a game and finished 4th in the MAC in total offense last season.