Jim Donnan Enters College Football Hall of Fame
Legendary Coach Enjoys Enshrinement Ceremonies with his Family
July 18, 2009
South Bend, Ind. - Jim Donnan led Marshall University's football program to national prominence in the 1990's by guiding the Thundering Herd to a national championship in 1992 and laying the foundation for a program that would post an amazing 114 wins in the decade. Saturday at the College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies, Donnan became the first Marshall Coach to be inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame and joins Marshall legends Mike Barber, Jackie Hunt and Harry "Cy" Young in the exclusive club.
"It was great to see all the Herd guys and gals here and my family," Donnan said. "This is just overwheliming. A tremendous and great feeling for not only me, but for Marshall, Georgia and all of the players and coaches in my career."
Donnan, joined by members of his family, friends and representatives from Marshall, traveled to South Bend to take part in the annual enshrinement festival. Among the family members in attendance was former Herd quarterback Todd Donnan who will enter the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame during the home opener with Illinois State on Sept. 5th. In addition, to the Hall of Fame events surrounding the opener, Marshall will also host its on-campus salute to Coach Donnan during the game.
"It is great to have Todd going into the Marshall Hall of Fame and I really enjoyed that last year (Jim Donnan entered the MU Hall of Fame a year ago). It was wonderful to go back and see so many people that are a big part of my life. Marshall is a special place and we are so proud to have Todd going into the Hall of Fame too. I love Marshall and those were the best years of my life."
Activities started on Friday with a Celebrity Golf Scramble and downtown block pary and fireworks display. Saturday morning Coach Donnan took part in the annual grand parade where he was cheered on by a sizeable Marshall contingent of well-wishers that made the trek from Huntington. Donnan, along with the other Hall of Fame inductees which include such notables as Lou Holtz, Troy Aikman, Thurman Thomas and Sam Mills, were presented with their Hall of Fame blazers Saturday afternoon before being honored during the enshrinement dinner and show that night.
Donnan spent six seasons with Marshall and posted a 64-21 record. Donnan led the Thundering Herd to four Division I-AA National Championship games, winning the 1992 national title. In 1994, the Thundering Herd won the Southern Conference Championship. His 15-4 playoff record ranks second best in NCAA FCS history. He was named Division I-AA Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1995.
In 1996, Donnan took the head coaching job at the University of Georgia. From 1997-2000, the Bulldogs won four consecutive bowl games and pushed Donnan's postseason record to 19-4 overall. The 1997 SEC Coach of the Year, Donnan set a Georgia record with four-straight eight-win seasons. Prior to his head coaching career, Donnan helped construct the Oklahoma Sooners wishbone offense that led to 28-straight Big 8 Conference wins and the 1985 NCAA National Championship as the offensive coordinator under Hall of Famer Barry Switzer.
Marshall's contingent at the enshrinement festival included interim Athletic Director David Steele, University Chief of Staff Bill Bissett, Assistant Athletic Director Randy Burnside and the "Voice" of the Herd Steve Cotton.
Exclusive video from enshrinement weekend with Coach Donnan, Todd Donnan and former Marshall head coach Jack Lengyel will be availabe online on Herdzone, along with exclusive one-on-one interviews and photos.