IRVING, Texas – Former Cal football All-American and current Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was one of 81 players and coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision announced Thursday by the National Football Foundation on the 2014 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
As a senior linebacker at Cal in 1983, Rivera earned consensus first-team All-American, Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Pop Warner Trophy honors while also being a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy. Rivera set a single-season school record that still stands today with 26.5 tackles for loss among his 138 tackles during his award-winning season. Rivera led Cal in tackles in each of his final three collegiate seasons and remains among Cal’s all-time leaders in tackles (336), tackles for loss (47.5) and sacks (22.0). Following his senior season, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the East-West Shrine Game.
Rivera has been the head coach of the Carolina Panthers since 2011 and was named the NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in 2013 when he led his squad to an NFC South title and a 12-4 regular-season record. He spent nine seasons as a player in the NFL with the Chicago Bears (1984-92), winning the Super Bowl XX title with the 1985 squad and being named the Bears’ Man of the Year for community service in 1990. Rivera also spent 11 campaigns on coaching staffs with Chicago (1997-98, 2004-06) as well as the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2003) and San Diego Chargers (2007-10) before becoming Carolina’s head coach in 2011.
The ballot was mailed this week to more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC commissioner and NCAA president, the 17-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.99 million people have played college football,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a first-team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today’s group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names.”
A total of 22 former Golden Bears are enshrined in this prestigious College Football Hall of Fame with Steve Bartkowski’s induction in 2012 the most recent.
The 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced in May and will be inducted at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 9, 2014 at the landmark Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.