Visit to College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta connects to Prairie State greats

Visit to College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta connects to Prairie State greats
The College Football Hall of Fame is located in downtown Atlanta. (photo courtesy

Prairie State Pigskin paid a visit to the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta this past weekend and found plenty of connections to our state.

As the hall itself notes, the museum and its attractions are “united by history and technology” in a ways to delight the college football fan.

Here are our takeaways.

The basics

If you’re planning a trip here’s a list of some things to know:

  • Website:
  • Phone (404) 880-4800
  • Address:  250 Marietta Street N.W., Atlanta, GA
  • Tickets:  $21.99 for adults; $17.99 for kids (3-12); kids under 3 are free
  • Discounted tickets (only available at box office): $18.99 for seniors & students with valid ID; free for military with valid ID

Hours of operation

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Attractions worth your time
  • Wall of helmets (818 are featured upon entrance, including all Illinois D1 & D3 schools)
  • Game Day Theater
  • Display of enshrined players & coaches etched in glass
  • Fight Song Karoke
  • Rivalries
  • ESPN College GameDay Desk
  • Evolution of Equipment
  • Why We Love College Football Media Wall

For the kids

  • Indoor Playing Field
  • Several interactive displays including Call the Play & a video game in which you attempt to build your college football powerhouse

Land of Lincoln enshrinees

The shrine’s official website notes that only “0.02% of college football’s players and coaches can claim the honor of being named into the Hall of Fame. Meet the elite few who made the cut.”

Darrell Mudra

Darrell Mudra

Thirty-eight players and coaches with ties to Illinois schools are among those inducted. As one would expect, most come from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University–many from the earliest days of the game. There are seven from the University of Chicago, including well-known coach and innovator Amos Alonzo Stagg and Jay Berwanger, the first winner of the Heisman Trophy. Yet, there are others including Tom Beck, who played at Northern Illinois before developing his hall of fame resume as a head coach and Darrell Mudra, aka “Dr. Victory” for his ability of resurrect struggling programs including Western and Eastern Illinois.

Below is a list by school in order of their induction year. If the inductee is a state native, his birthplace is noted in parentheses.


University of Illinois (14)

1951–Red Grange (Wheaton)

1951–Edward Hall (Granville)

1951–Bob Zuppke

1963–Alex Agase (Chicago)

1966–Charles Carney (Chicago)

1968–Claude “Buddy” Young (Chicago)

1972–Franklin “Bart” Macomber (Chicago)

1980–J.C. Caroline

1982–Bernie Shively (Oliver)

1983–Dick Butkus (Chicago)

1995–Jim Grabowski (Chicago)

1998–Al Brosky

2005–David Williams

2018–Dana Howard (East St. Louis)

Northwestern University (10)

1956–Otto Graham (Waukegan)

1974–John Driscoll (Evanston)

1979–Ernest “Pug” Rentner (Joliet)

1981–Ralph Baker (Rockford)

1985–Stephen Reid, Sr. (Chicago)

1988–John Riley (Chicago)

1989–Edgar Manske

1990–Ron Burton

1998–Alex Sarkisian

2008–Pat Fitzgerald (Orland Park)

University of Chicago (7)

1951–Walter Eckersall (Chicago)

1951–Amos Alonzo Stagg

1954–Jay Berwanger

1955–Paul Jardien

1962–Andrew Wyant

1969–Walter Steffen (Chicago)

1970–Clarence Herschberger (Peoria)

Augustana University (2)

1997–Lynn Thomsen (born in Sioux City, Iowa but grew up in Normal)

1998–Bob Reade

Illinois Wesleyan University (2)

2002–Anthony Blazine, Jr. (Canton)

2012–Chris Bisaillon (Kankakee)

Northern Illinois University (2)

1999–George Bork (Mt. Prospect)

2004–Tom Beck (Chicago)*

Eastern Illinois University (1)

2000–Darrell Mudra**

Western Illinois University (1)

2000–Darrell Mudra**

Benedictine University (1)

2004–Tom Beck (Chicago)*

Elmhurst College (1)

2004–Tom Beck (Chicago)*

*has ties to three Illinois schools

**has ties to two Illinois schools

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