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ATLANTA  –  A sold-out crowd of 900 college football fans and dignitaries packed the Grand Ballroom of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center for a first-class celebration that honored 24 of the game’s greatest legends as members of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Class.

“Great buildings are meant to inspire, and there is no doubt that the new facility being built here in Atlanta will inspire for generations to come,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “This year’s class recognizes some of the finest players and coaches ever inducted into the Hall, and it is fitting that they take their place in history as the first class to be enshrined in Atlanta.”Art ShellShell makes comments during ceremony

University of Maryland Eastern Shore alumnus and Hall of Famer, Art Shell was inducted as part of the Divisional College Football Hall of Fame, which, according to its mission statement, honors players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. In the 1960s, UMES competed in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a Division II conference.

Shell played four seasons with the Hawks from 1964 to 1967. He was a two-time All- American as an offensive and defensive lineman in his junior and senior seasons plus earned All-CIAA honors his final three years. He would go on to have a strong professional career with the Oakland Raiders, being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after winning three Super Bowls and making eight Pro Bowls.

Hosted by the Atlanta Hall Management and the Atlanta Sports Council, in partnership with the National Football Foundation (NFF), the event marked the first time that Atlanta presided over the Enshrinement Ceremony. The celebration took place steps from the construction site for the new 94,256-square-foot home for the Hall, which will open in the fall of 2014 in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, tourism and entertainment district surrounding Centennial Olympic Park.

Award-winning broadcaster Wes Durham emceed the event, engaging each member of the enshrinement class during a question and answer session that produced many powerful memories.

Coach James “Boots” Donnelly (Austin Peay State, Middle Tennessee State) produced one of the larger contingents of fans in the room with more than 90 friends and family making the trip to see him accept college football’s ultimate honor.

“My fondest memories are of the players and assistant coaches and all of the supporters,” said Donnelly. “That’s what’s special for me. It’s not the wins and losses. It’s the relationships with the players and coaches.”

In addition to Shell and Donnelly, the class included Charles Alexander (LSU), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Steve Bartkowski (California), Hal Bedsole (Southern California), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), coach Frank Cignetti (West Virginia, Indiana [Pa.]), Ty Detmer (BYU),  coach Jess Dow (Southern Connecticut State), coach Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), coach Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State, Miami [Fla.]), Shelby Jordan (Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.]), Tommy Kramer (Rice), Joe Micchia (Westminster College [Pa.]), Art Monk (Syracuse), Greg Myers (Colorado State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech), Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), coach R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M), Scott Thomas (Air Force), Jeff Wittman (Ithaca College [N.Y.]) and John Wooten (Colorado).


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