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Contributed by Joe Gladziszewski on 05/30/2013
The National Football Foundation announced the members of the 2013 Divisional College Football Hall of Fame Class. The Divisional College Football Hall of Fame considers players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) for induction. The 2013 class includes four players and three coaches, including Ithaca College fullback and Hall of Fame member Jeff Wittman '93.
Earning First Team All-America status once is hard enough, but three times proved to be the charm for Ithaca's Jeff Wittman. He joins his head coach Jim Butterfield as one of the only two Bombers in the College Football Hall of Fame.
A record-breaking fullback, Wittman led Ithaca to the Division III national title in 1991 and was subsequently named MVP of the Stagg Bowl after a stellar three-touchdown performance. A three-time First Team All-American from 1990-92, he broke 16 career rushing and scoring records while leading the Bombers to a 36-8-0 record during his prolific career. The 1993 Ben Light Senior Male Athlete of the Year ran for 100-plus yards in a game 18 times, and he rushed for an Ithaca-record 3,410 yards and 44 touchdowns during his collegiate campaign.
After graduating from Ithaca in 1993, Wittman returned to his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., to pursue his passion for teaching and coaching. He taught at an elementary school within the Gates Chili Central School District while also coaching the junior varsity football and wrestling teams at the local high school. He currently teaches physical education at Gates Chili High School.
More than 20 years later, Wittman remains a fixture atop the Ithaca and Stagg Bowl record books and was inducted into his alma mater's athletics hall of fame in 2001.
In addition to Wittman, three other players were inducted – Shelby Jordan, a linebacker from Washington University in St. Louis (1969-72); Joe Micchia, a quarterback from Westminster (Pa.) College (1987-89); and Art Shell, an offensive tackle from Maryland-Eastern Shore (1964-67). The inducted coaches were Frank Cigntti of West Virginia University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, James "Boots" Donnelly of Austin Peay State University and Middle Tennessee State, and Jess Dow of Southern Connecticut State University.
"This is a truly exceptional group of College Football Hall of Fame inductees from the divisional ranks,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee from Ole Miss. “We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments this summer, and we applaud them for reaching the pinnacle of recognition in our great sport."
Including the recently announced 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision class and this class of divisional honorees, only 934 players and 205 coaches, have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.92 million who have played or coached the game over the past 144 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction. This year's divisional class brings the number of schools represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer to 296.
The 2013 Divisional College Football Hall of Fame Class will be honored this summer in Atlanta, Ga., during the Enshrinement ceremonies in August.
For more information about the award's history and the other Hall of Fame honorees, please see the National Football Foundation news release.