DeBerry elected to College Football Hall of Fame

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A former U.S. Air Force Academy football coach was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, according to an announcement from the National Football Foundation Board of Directors on May 17.

The foundation will honor Fisher DeBerry, along with the other inductees, at the National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 in New York City.

Mr. DeBerry will join the list of 2011 inductees, which includes former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, Ohio State running back and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, and Florida State defensive back Deion Sanders.

After a 23-year career as head coach at the Academy, Mr. DeBerry retired Dec. 15, 2006. The 72-year-old South Carolina native led 17 of his 23 teams to winning records, and 12 captured a bowl bid, posting a 6-6 record. His career record of 169-109-1 is the best in school history in terms of games won and winning percentage.

He coached the Falcons to three conference championships. The team won a share of the Western Athletic Conference championship in 1985, his second season, and again in 1995. In 1998, Mr. DeBerry guided the team to its first outright title with the Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division championship and a win over Brigham Young in the title game in Las Vegas, after which he was named WAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. The 1998 team's 12-1 record completed the first back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history, following a 10-3 campaign the previous year. The 1998 squad finished the season ranked 10th nationally.

His Falcons also dominated the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series with archrivals Army and Navy. Air Force won the trophy 14 times and shared it once in Mr. DeBerry's tenure. He compiled a remarkable 35-11 record against the Black Knights and Midshipmen and is the winningest coach in service academy history.

Mr. DeBerry came to the Academy as an assistant from 1980-83 before the Academy promoted him to head coach in 1984 succeeding Ken Hatfield. His success was immediate as Air Force started the 1985 season 10-0 and flirted with a national championship game appearance before finishing 12-1 including a 24-16 beating of Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl to earn Mr. DeBerry the national coach of the year award.

(Courtesy of the USAF Academy Athletics Department.)