Nov. 13, 2012
The U.S. Air Force Academy and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor All-American Safety Scott Thomas with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute Nov. 16 in Colorado Springs during the game between the Falcons and Hawaii. Coverage of the game will start 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
"I was seeing all these great names I watched growing up, and to be included with them is a huge honor," said Thomas in May when it was announced that was a member of the 2012 class. "I still can't believe it's happening."
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee's Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.
"Scott Thomas defined toughness, playing safety at Air Force in the 1980s," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "He was fast and fearless, and nobody played the game with more passion or found a way to make the big plays when it counted. Thomas ranks among the best ever, and he took that same toughness and transferred that to the battle field fighting for our country. It will be an honor to celebrate his career this weekend in Colorado Springs."
A driving force in one of the most successful four-year runs in the history of Air Force football, Scott Thomas earned consensus All-America honors his senior year in 1985 at safety. Playing for 2011 Hall of Fame coach Fisher DeBerry, Thomas notched 221 career tackles with four TFL, 10 interceptions, 22 pass breakups while averaging 28.8 yards per kickoff return. He returned a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown during his 1985 All-America campaign.
A two-time All-WAC honoree, Thomas led the Falcons to the first conference title in program history with a 12-1 record and No. 5 final ranking in 1985. He guided Air Force to a 38-12 overall record, four consecutive bowl wins, four wins over Notre Dame, the first top 10 finish in academy history and three Commander-in-Chief's Trophies with a 7-1 record against storied rivals Army and Navy from 1982-85.
Thomas also was a four-year letterman for the Air Force basketball team, and he logged more than 4,100 hours of military flight time. He gained national attention during the first Gulf War after his plane went down over enemy territory in 1991. Thomas currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserves while working as a commercial pilot.
A regular keynote speaker for nonprofit organizations, he volunteers with Young Life youth ministries and as a little league coach. He is also a Kiwanis Club member. Thomas served as the guest picker during ESPN's College GameDay visit for the Army game on Nov. 7, 2009. Thomas is a 2011 United States Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.
Thomas becomes the third Air Force player to earn induction, joining (listed with year of induction) Brock Strom (1985) and Chad Hennings (2006). Hall of Fame coaches who headed the Air Force program include Buck Shaw (1972) and Fisher DeBerry (2011).
Including the 2012 FBS class, only 918 players and 200 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly five million people who have played or coached the game over the past 144 years. In other words, only two ten thousandths of one percent (.0002) of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction. For a complete list of players and coaches in the hall, please visit www.collegefootball.org.
The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City's historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, December 4. This year's hall of fame class includes: Charles Alexander (LSU), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Steve Bartkowski (California), Hal Bedsole (Southern California), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), Ty Detmer (BYU), Tommy Kramer (Rice), Art Monk (Syracuse), Greg Myers (Colorado State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech), Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), Scott Thomas (Air Force), John Wooten (Colorado), and coaches Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State, Miami [Fla.]) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M). For more information, please contact Will Rudd at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 972-556-1000.