ACC announces 2014 Football Championship Game Legends Class
Led by two members of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of the most successful coaches in Atlantic Coast Conference history, the ACC announced the 2014 Class of Legends for its 10th Annual Dr Pepper Football Championship Game, which will be played in Charlotte, N.C. on December 6.
Leading this year’s class are former Virginia and Navy head coach George Welsh (Coaldale Pa.), Florida State’s two-time consensus All-American linebacker Derrick Brooks (Pensacola, Fla.), four-time Pitt All-American defensive end Hugh Green (Natchez, Miss.), and Syracuse All-American wide receiver Art Monk (White Plains, N.Y.).
Welsh finished his coaching career as the winningest coach in league history compiling a 189-132-4 record which included reclamation projects at the U.S. Naval Academy and at Virginia. In his near two-decade stint in Charlottesville, Welsh built the Cavaliers into one of the nation’s premier football programs, winning seven or more games for 13 consecutive seasons.
Brooks, a 2014 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is considered to be one of the greatest players in college and professional football history. The 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, he was named to the NFL’s pro bowl an astounding 11 times and led FSU to a national championship and Tampa Bay to the NFL title.
Green, a 1996 inductee into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, is also considered by many to be one of the greatest collegiate players in history. He was a three-time consensus All-American and earned All-America honors in all four of his collegiate seasons for the Panthers.
Monk is one of the few players to earn selection to both the College Football Hall of Fame (2012) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). He ended his 15-year professional career as the first wide receiver in NFL history to top 900 receptions, finishing with 940 career catches.
The Legends are each selected by their respective schools and will be honored during this year’s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends sponsored by the Belk Bowl onFriday, Dec. 5, and on Saturday Dec. 6, during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 10th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which will be nationally televised with either a 7:45 pm (ESPN) or 8 p.m. (ABC) kickoff.
Tickets for the Night of Legends are priced at $125 each and are available at the following link: http://theacc.co/ACCFCG14NOLtix
The group of 14 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes a former ACC Football Player of the Year; an ACC Defensive Player of the Year, 12 former All-Americas, including 10 first-team and six consensus All-American honorees and 12 players who combined for 118 years in the National Football League. Twelve of the Legends were drafted into the NFL, including nine first- or-second-round draft choices.
In all, the collection of players combined for three national championships, eight ACC championships, 11 Super Bowl appearances, eight Super Bowl championships and 26 pro bowl appearances. Three of the Legends were named to their respective NFL All-Decade teams.
Joining Welsh, Brooks, Green and Monk as this year’s Legends are Boston College offensive lineman Chris Snee (Montrose, Pa.), who earned second-team All-America honors (AP) as a senior at guard; Clemson cornerback Donnell Woolford (Fayetteville, N.C.), a consensus All-America and key defensive figure for the Danny Ford-coached Tiger teams in the late 1980s; Duke wide receiver Chris Castor (Cary, N.C.), the first wide receiver to earn Player of the Year honors in ACC history; Georgia Tech offensive lineman John Davis (Ellijay, Ga.), who earned first-team All-America honors as a tackle and as a center for the Yellow Jackets; and Louisville cornerback Frank Minnifield (Lexington, Ky.), who led the nation in kickoff returns and was an excellent cover cornerback for the Cardinals.
Completing the ACC Football Legends Class of 2014 are Miami’s Darrin Smith (Miami, Fla.), one of one-third of the famed Hurricane linebacker trio dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle” that helped lead “the U” to a pair of national championships in 1989 and 1991; North Carolina defensive end Greg Ellis (Wendell, N.C.), a two-time All-American who earned consensus All-America honors in 1997 playing for the Mack Brown-coached Tar Heel teams of the mid-1990s; NC State safety Jesse Campbell (Vanceboro, N.C.), a three-time All-ACC and two-time All-America defensive back for Coach Dick Sheridan’s teams of the 1980s and 90s; Virginia Tech center Jake Grove (Forest, Va.), a unanimous first-team All-America in 2003 who was the winner of the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top pivotman; and Wake Forest running back Alan White (Elm City, N.C.), the runner-up for 1961 ACC Player of the Year who led the conference in rushing that year and went on to an award-winning career in athletic administration as director of athletics at Elon University.
Snee (2001-03), one of the most effective offensive linemen in Boston College history, earned second-team All-America honors and first team All-Big East accolades at guard for the Eagles in 2003. His blocking helped pave the way for BC’s Derrick Knight to finish fourth nationally in rushing with 1,721 yards. In his three years as a starter for BC and head coach Tom O’Brien, he helped lead the Eagles to a 25-13 record, including bowl wins over Georgia, Toledo and Colorado State. An early-entry into the 2004 NFL Draft, he was selected in the second round as the 34th overall pick by the New York Giants. Snee enjoyed a 10-year NFL career with the Giants, starting in 141 games, four times earning selection to the NFL pro bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and three times being named an All-Pro (2008, 2009, 2010). He helped lead the Giants, under coach Tom Coughlin, to a pair of Super Bowl triumphs in Super Bowl XLII (2007) and Super Bowl XLVI (2011). Snee, originally a native of Montrose, Pa., and his wife, the former Katie Coughlin, the daughter of the Giants head coach, now reside in Finger Lakes, N.J.
Woolford (1985-88) is a two-time All-America who earned 2nd team honors in 1987 and consensus All-America honors in 1988. He helped lead Clemson, coached by Danny Ford, to a 28-6-2 record in his final three seasons, including national Top Ten rankings in 1987 (10th, UPI) and in 1988 (8th, UPI; 9th AP). A two-time first-team All-ACC selection, he helped Clemson to ACC Championships in each of his final three varsity seasons, recording 10 pass interceptions in his career. An excellent punt returner, he led the ACC and finished third nationally with two touchdown returns and a 15.5 yard average in 1987. The 11th overall selection in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Woolford played ten seasons in the NFL, the first eight with the Bears (1989-97) followed by one each with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1997) and Carolina Panthers (1998). He earned selection to the NFL pro bowl in 1993 and was named an All-Pro in 1994. He finished his career with 36 interceptions, the most at the time in Bears history. Originally a native of Fayetteville, N.C., he now resides in Charlotte.
Castor (1979-82), a second-team All-America selection by the Associated Press as senior in 1982, enjoyed one of the most prolific seasons by an ACC wide receiver that year, averaging 20.7 yards per catch on 46 receptions with a then ACC-record 13 receiving touchdowns. That year, he became the first wide receiver to be named ACC Player of the Year, helping the Blue Devils to finish second nationally in passing offense. He established a school record for season yards per catch (20.7), a mark that stood until 2007. He also was named the Duke team MVP and his career yards-per-reception average of 18.96 is still the seventh-best mark in ACC history. A fifth-round draft choice in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, he played in 23 games in two seasons (1983-84) for Seattle with eight career catches for 89 yards. Born in Burlington, N.C., he grew up in Cary, N.C., which is also his current hometown.
Brooks (1991-94) earned consensus All-America honors in 1993 and 1994, leading the Seminoles to their first national championship as a junior in 1993. He earned first-team All-ACC honors three times (1992, 1993, 1994) was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. A finalist for the Butkus, Lombardi and Football Writers Defensive Player of the Year Awards in both 1993 and 1994, he was as highly regarded off the field as well earning first-team Academic All-America honors in 1994, receiving the NCAA’s Postgraduate Scholarship and being named one of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athletes. The 28th player elected in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, he played 14 NFL (1995-2008) seasons for the Bucs, earning selection to the pro bowl 11 times—including 10 straight seasons from 1997 through 2006. He was honored as an All-Pro nine times and was chosen as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002 and led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. During his NFL career, he started 221 of 224 games, made 1,715 tackles and his six career touchdowns on interceptions returns tied an NFL record. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team As a professional, Brooks was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2000 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, the 2004 Byron “Whizzer” White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players Association, all of which honor an NFL player annually for the commitment to their communities. In 2007, Brooks was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team, which selected the top 33 players in the history of high school football in the state of Florida. Currently, he is co-owner and president of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League and he resides in Tampa, Fla.
Davis (1983-86), a four-year starter on the offensive line for the Bill Curry-coached teams of the mid-1980s, is one of the best offensive lineman in Tech history. Davis started at offensive tackle as a true freshman in 1983; started at center in 1984; earned first-team All-America honors by The Sporting News in 1985 at tackle; and completed his collegiate career earning first-team All-America honors (Scripps-Howard) back at center in 1986. He earned the nickname “The Refrigerator Mover” for his play in 1984 against Clemson consensus All-American William “The Refrigerator” Perry when he was named Sports Illustrated’s National Player of the Week following Tech’s 28-21 upset of the 13th-ranked Tigers, snapping a 20-game Clemson ACC win streak. Drafted in the 11th round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, he played two years with Houston and six seasons with the Buffalo Bills at guard, playing in three Super Bowls (XXV, XXVII, XXVIII), missing one (XXVI) with an injury. A native of Ellijay, Ga., he is currently serving as National Scouting Coordinator for CSA Prepstar 360 and currently resides with his family in Marietta, Ga.
Minnifield (1979-82) was originally a walk-on who earned a scholarship and became a four-time letterman for the Cardinals. He led the nation in kickoff return average (30.4) as a junior in 1981. A superb cover corner, he had seven career interceptions. After college, Minnifield signed with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL (1983) and played two seasons including the 1984 campaign when the team moved to Arizona. He sued to move to the NFL, signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1985. Minnifield played eight seasons for Cleveland, earning four selections to the NFL’s pro bowl from 1986 through 1989. He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1980s and was credited, along with fellow Brown cornerback Hanford Dixon, in originating and naming Cleveland’s “Dawg Pound” cheering section. After his professional career, he founded Minnifield All-Pro Homes in his hometown of Lexington, Ky. and was named to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board in 1993. In 2011, he was named Chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. A native of Lexington, he currently resides in his hometown.
Smith (1989-92), one of the top linebackers in Miami history, he keyed a Hurricane defense that allowed Miami to win a pair of national championships (1989, 1991) under coach Dennis Erickson during his time in Coral Gables. Along with Jessie Armstead and Michael Barrow, he composed one third of the linebacker corps for Miami known as the “Bermuda Triangle”. As a junior he earned first-team All-America honors by the Football News and second-team by the Associated Press while also named co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East Conference. He finished his career as the fourth-leading tackler in UM history. He was named a first-team All-American by UPI as a senior in 1992. During his four varsity seasons, Miami compiled a spectacular 44-4 record. An excellent student, Smith also became UM’s first National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete recipient. A second-round pick and the 54th overall selection by Dallas in the 1993 NFL Draft, he played 12 seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Cowboys (1993-96) where he helped Dallas to triumphs in Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX. He also played one year with Philadelphia (1997), two seasons with Seattle (1998-99) and five years with New Orleans. In his NFL career, he compiled 749 tackles, 24.0 sacks and 11 interceptions. A native of Miami, he currently resides in Pembroke Pines where he owns and operates a real estate investment and development company. He also serves as the team chaplain for the Miami Dolphins.
Ellis (1994-97) was one of the lynchpins of a stifling North Carolina defense for Coach Mack Brown that led the ACC in total defense for three consecutive years in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and led the nation in scoring defense in 1996. He earned honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore, second-team All-America accolades as a junior and was a consensus first-team pick as a senior. He is still the all-time career leader at North Carolina in quarterback sacks and his career total of 32.5 sacks is still the fourth-best in ACC history. During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, he helped lead the Tar Heels to an overall 36-12 record including a 21-3 mark in his final two years and four consecutive bowl appearances. UNC was ranked seventh in the nation following his senior season. He was the eighth overall selection in the first round in the 1998 NFL Draft by Dallas and went on to enjoy a 12-year NFL Career, the first 11 with the Cowboys. From 1998 through 2008, he started 155 of 162 games for the Cowboys and finished his career in 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He totaled 84.0 quarterback sacks and 525 tackles with 23 forced fumbles and returned both a fumble (98 yards) and pass interception (87 yards) for touchdowns. He was named to the 2007 NFL pro bowl and was also named that year as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. A native of Wendell, N.C., he played for East Wake High School and was named the North Carolina Male High School Athlete of the Year in 1993. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
Campbell (1988-90) was one of the defensive standouts for the Dick-Sheridan-coached Wolfpack teams in the late 1980s. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in each of his three varsity seasons and was also named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1988. As a freshman, he led the Wolfpack in tackles (83), tackles for loss (11), pass breakups (11) and interceptions (5). A second-team All-America selection by the Football News in 1989, he earned first-team honors in 1990. During his three seasons at State, the Wolfpack compiled a 22-13-1 record which included three consecutive bowl game appearances. He still holds the school career record for fumbles forced with 15. He had 269 career tackles, including 22 for loss, 30 pass breakups and seven interceptions. A second-round selection and the 48th overall pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1991 NFL Draft, he played eight seasons in the NFL, including one with Philadelphia (1991), five with the New York Giants (1992-96) and two with the Washington Redskins (1997-98). He also had seven career interceptions as a professional. A native of Vanceboro, N.C., he currently resides in Havelock, N.C., where he is an assistant principal at New Bern High School.
Green (1977-80), one of the most honored defensive players in Pitt history, is a four-time All-American who earned consensus first-team All-America honors in each of his final three seasons as a defensive end. He led Pitt to a four-year 39-8-1 record. As a senior in 1980, he was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award Player of the Year, the UPI National Player of the Year and The Sporting News Player of the Year. Additionally, he was also presented with the Lombardi Award as the nation’s best lineman or interior linebacker. He was also voted the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, at the time the highest finish be a defensive player in the history of the Heisman Trophy. He accumulated 460 tackles and 53 sacks in his collegiate career and Pitt retired his jersey, No. 99, at halftime of his final home game in 1980. Selected by Tampa Bay with the seventh overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, the first five with the Buccaneers and the last six with Miami. A two-time All-Pro and pro bowl selection as a linebacker (1982-83) he was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team in 1981. Inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1996, he was named the fifth greatest college football player of all-time by the collegefootballnews.com. Named to the all-time All-American team by The Sporting News in 1983, Green was ranked No. 14 among ESPN’s Top 25 College Football Players in history in 2007, and was also named to Sports Illustrated’s College Football all-century team in 1999. Originally a native of Natchez, Miss., he is now retired and resides in Fayette, Miss.
Monk (1976-79), one of the most productive wide receivers in National Football League history, is one of the few players to be inducted into both the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (2012) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). He still ranks ninth on the Syracuse reception list and is 10th in receiving yards. He still holds the school record for most catches in a game, with 14 against Navy in 1977. He was a first-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and a two-time Lambert Trophy winner given to the best collegiate player in the East. The 18th overall selection in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by Washington, Monk played 16 seasons in the National Football League, the first 14 with the Redskins. A three-time pro bowl selection (1984-86), he was a first-team All-Pro in 1984 and second team in 1985. He set an NFL single-season receiving mark, which was later broken, with 106 catches in 1984 and became the first NFL receiver with 900 or more career receptions, completing his career with 940 catches. He helped the Redskins to four Super Bowl appearances as Washington captured Super Bowl titles in Super Bowls XVII, XXII and XXVI. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s and has been named to the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame. Originally a native of White Plains, N.Y., he now resides in Great Falls, Va.
Welsh (1982-2000) retired in 2000 as the winningest coach in ACC history having compiled 189 wins in a 28-year career as head coach at Navy and Virginia. His total of 134 wins at Virginia is still the second-best mark of any ACC head coach, trailing only Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, and his overall total ranks 31st among all coaches in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. His 85 ACC wins in conference games is also the second-highest total in league history. His rebuilding job at UVa stands as one of the great coaching accomplishments in modern collegiate football. Welsh inherited a Virginia program that had a 1-10 record and had averaged less than three victories a year in the previous 11 seasons. In his 19 years in Charlottesville, Welsh’s teams averaged seven wins a year, including a stretch of 13 consecutive seasons when Virginia won seven or more football games. Six of his Cavalier teams finished ranked in the nation’s Top 20, two tied for ACC championships, and he led UVa to 12 appearances in bowl games. His 1990 squad earned a No. 1 national ranking for three straight weeks. Prior to his arrival in Charlottesville, Virginia had never been to a bowl game.
While at Virginia he was named ACC Coach of the Year four times (1983, 1984, 1991, 1995) and National Coach of the year once (1991). His 1989 and 1995 Virginia teams tied for the ACC football title and his 1990 team was ranked No. 1 nationally at midseason. His 1995 UVa squad was the first ACC team to beat Florida State, ending the Seminoles’ 29-game conference winning streak after joining the league. An All-American quarterback at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1955, Welsh began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Penn State under Rip Engle and then Joe Paterno (1963-72). He became head coach at Navy in 1973 and rebuilt that program into a consistent winner, inheriting a program that had won just 12 games over the previous five seasons. He compiled a 55-46-1, taking the Midshipmen to bowl games in three of his final four seasons in Annapolis. Originally a native of Coaldale, Pa., Welsh now lives in Charlottesville, Va.
Grove (2000-03), the winner of the 2003 Rimington Trophy which is given annually to the nation’s best center, earned unanimous Al-America honors as a senior for Coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Grove played on Tech teams that compiled a 37-14 record and went to four consecutive bowl games. After playing center as a freshman and guard as a sophomore, Grove moved back to the center position as a junior in 2002, and was a natural fit, starting all 14 games and grading out to 90 percent for the season. In 2003, he graded out to 91.8 percent in over 700 offensive plays, recording a team-high 48 knockdown blocks. That year, he was a first-team All-American selection by the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Walter Camp Foundation and The Sporting News. He also earned first-team All-Big East honors. Selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round and the 45th overall pick of the 2004 Draft, Grove played seven seasons in the NFL, the first five with Oakland and the final two with Miami. He started 56 of his 66 NFL games in his career. His jersey, No. 64, was retired by Virginia Tech in 2006. Born in Johnson City, Tenn., Grove is a native of Forest, Va., and he currently resides in his hometown.
White (1959-61) was a first team All-ACC running back and Wake Forest MVP in 1961 after leading the ACC in rushing. That year he carried 93 times for 586 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. As a senior he rushed for 131 yards vs. Virginia and added 113 yards in a win over North Carolina. White was a third team Academic All-America selection following his senior season. After graduation, he embarked on a coaching career that included stops at Elon and Mississippi State. White returned to the Elon coaching staff in 1974 and became director of athletics in 1979. He served in that position until his retirement in 2006. While leading the Elon athletics program, Dr. White helped the Phoenix transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and eventually to the Football Championship Subdivision. He was named the NAIA National Athletic Administrator of the Year in 1989 and was a five-time NAIA district administrator of the year. During his tenure at Elon, the Phoenix won 56 conference championships, 12 conference Excellence Awards and four national championships. A 1962 graduate of Wake Forest, Dr. White has previously been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Elon Sports Hall of Fame, the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame. Originally from Elm City, N.C., he and his family now reside in Burlington, N.C.
2014 ACC Football Legends Roster
Name School Years Position Hometown (Current Residence)
Chris Snee Boston College 2001-03 Guard Montrose, Pa. (Finger Lakes, N.J.)
Donnell Woolford Clemson 1985-88 Cornerback Fayetteville, N.C. (Charlotte, N.C.)
Chris Castor Duke 1979-82 Wide Receiver Cary, N.C. (Same)
Derrick Brooks Florida State 1991-94 Linebacker Pensacola, Fla. (Tampa, Fla.)
John Davis Georgia Tech 1983-86 Center-Tackle Ellijay, Ga. (Marietta, Ga.)
Frank Minnifield Louisville 1979-82 Cornerback Lexington, Ky. (same)
Darrin Smith Miami 1989-92 Linebacker Miami, Fla. (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
Greg Ellis North Carolina 1994-97 Defensive End Wendell, N. C. (Dallas, Tex.)
Jesse Campbell NC State 1988-90 Safety Vanceboro, N.C. (Havelock, N.C.)
Hugh Green Pittsburgh 1977-80 Defensive End Natchez, Miss. (Fayette, Miss.)
Art Monk Syracuse 1976-79 Wide Receiver White Plains, N.Y. (Great Falls, Va.)
George Welsh Virginia 1982-00 Head Coach Coaldale, Pa. (Charlottesville, Va.)
Jake Grove Virginia Tech 2000-03 Center Forest, Va. (same)
Alan White Wake Forest 1959-61 Running Back Elm City, N.C. (Burlington, N.C.)