For every former Air Force player, assistant and staff member that has congratulated former Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry on his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, he has made sure the honor is shared.
“I tell them, it’s our award as much as it is mine,” DeBerry said. “I was just driving the bus.”
Tonight is a big night for Air Force, which has two other hall of famers (Brock Strom and Chad Hennings). DeBerry might be the biggest figure in Air Force history, after 23 years as head coach, and him getting into the hall reinforced all of the great moments he had over two decades at the academy.
“He impacted a lot of lives positively,” former Air Force quarterback Keith Boyea said. “That’s his legacy. What I remember is not the wins and losses, but what I learned from him.”
(EDIT: Here’s a quote from the NFF awards press conference from DeBerry: “I am just so honored and humbled with this award. I am even prouder about the recognition that this brings to the great U.S. Air Force Academy. I used to tell our players on the way back to the dorm after practice that if they passed a turtle on the fence tonight, he had to have some help to get up there and to think team. This award just shows the power of college football and how much it means to our country. This is just a big honor and means so much to me.”)
Gazette columnist David Ramsey is in New York to cover DeBerry’s induction, so check with Gazette.com tonight for his story. The ceremony will be live on the National Football Foundation’s site and on ESPN3.com.
Here are some of our DeBerry stories leading up to the event:
- DeBerry touched a lot of people with his personal letters through the years. Everyone he knows seems to have gotten a handwritten note from him at some point.
- Here’s Ramsey’s blog on DeBerry’s memories of his top moments at Air Force. He’ll have part two on his blog tomorrow.
- And Ramsey had a great column on DeBerry a few weeks ago when he was honored at Air Force’s home game against Wyoming.