Tillman to be honored with Hall of Fame ceremony Saturday

DALLAS — Arizona State University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will jointly honor the late Pat Tillman on Saturday, two days after Veteran’s Day, with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute as the Sun Devils host Stanford in Tempe. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

“It will be an honor for Arizona State University to share this on-campus recognition of Pat Tillman with our community and his family and friends.” said ASU athletic director Lisa Love. “Pat, an American hero, is a significant part of our history, and we are thrilled to recognize him and his family once again.”

In May, the NFF announced that Tillman, who played linebacker at ASU from 1994-97 and earned first-team All-America honors in 1997, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 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. Tillman, who was killed while on military duty in Afghanistan, will be represented by several of his Arizona State teammates.

“Pat Tillman is a true American hero, and his thrilling accomplishments on the field provide an unmatched example of the leadership qualities forged on the gridiron that he exhibited later in life,” said NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell. “”He clearly built a record that deserves to be forever preserved in the College Football Hall of Fame, and it will be an honor to travel to Tempe and hear the crowds cheer his name in appreciation of his accomplishments.”

The first-ever Arizona State player to be named Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Tillman led the Sun Devils to the 1996 Pac-10 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Named team MVP in 1997, the two-time first-team Academic All-Pac-10 selection finished his ASU career with 230 career tackles. He was named Sun Bowl MVP in his senior season and has since been inducted into the Sun Bowl Hall of Fame. Tillman was also named the 1997 Sporting News/Honda Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998, Tillman spent three seasons in the NFL before enlisting in the U.S. Army after the events of 9/11. Tillman, a U.S. Army Ranger, served tours in Iraqi Freedom (2003) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2004) before being killed in Afghanistan. Following his death, he was awarded a Purple Heart by the U.S. Army and a Silver Star by the U.S. Military. The Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award was named The Pat Tillman Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Tillman was posthumously honored with the NFF’s Distinguished American Award in 2006.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in his name to promote scholarship, the spirit of community service, and supporting veterans, active service members and their dependents. Its signature event, Pat’s Run, attracts over 30,000 participants each year.

He is survived by his wife, Marie.

Sun Devil players previously inducted into the hall of fame include Michael Haynes (2001), John Jefferson (2002), Randall McDaniel (2008), Ron Pritchard (2003), and Danny White (1998). Hall of Fame coaches with stints at ASU include John Cooper (2008), Dan Devine (1985) and Frank Kush (1995).

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, Dec. 7. For tickets to the Dec. 7 induction in New York, please contact Will Rudd at wrudd@footballfoundation.com or by calling (972) 556-1000.

The National Hall of Fame Salute at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl follows on Jan. 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