The Haggar Gold Jacket Report is a weekly update on recent news surrounding the very select group of men who’ve earned a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame quarterback BART STARR may have played his entire pro career in the north with the Green Bay Packers, but he was born a southern gentleman in Montgomery, Ala. The Class of 1977 field general will be on hand in his hometown on April 1 to serve as grand marshal of this year's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Starr played football at Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery and then at the University of Alabama.
"Bart is a great ambassador for our city and we are excited to have him be part of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy weekend," said Rick Humphrey, vice president of track promoter ZOOM Motorsports.
As grand marshal, the 78-year-old Starr will give the start command and wave the green flag, beginning the second race of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Class of 1971 defensive end ANDY ROBUSTELLI was officially enshrined in the Fairfield County Sports Commission's Hall of Fame in his hometown of Stamford, Conn. He was posthumously inducted with his son-in-law Bennett Salvatore, a pro basketball official, Wednesday Feb. 29, 2012.
“I cannot think of a greater athlete and more humble man … a great teacher,” said Salvatore, who is married to Robustelli’s daughter, Laura, at Wednesday’s plaque unveiling ceremony.
“I am sure my father is looking down smiling,” Rick Robustelli said as his late father’s plaque was added to the hall the same day as Salvatore’s plaque.
The addition of Robustelli to the Hall of Fame has been a few years in the making. He was originally inducted with the first class back in 2005, but politely declined as he did not want to draw attention to himself. Robustelli passed away in May 2011 and his family decided it was time for his plaque to be put on display.
The Fairfield County Sports Commission's Hall of Fame is based at UConn-Stamford and now has 45 members. Other members include Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine, Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner, former New York Ranger Chris Drury and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival is still more than five months away, but the Class of 2012 is getting an early look at what is to come. Beginning with a visit by JACK BUTLER last Friday, Feb. 24 and DERMONTTI DAWSON’s visit on Tuesday each of the six men being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4, 2012 will visit Canton and also tour the museum.
Joe Horrigan, vice president-communications/exhibits, said that enshrinees are brought to the Hall of Fame in part to make them feel at ease when the enshrinement arrives.
“They are here to do a site survey, to get the lay of the land, and see what’s in store for them,” explained Horrigan. “It gives the staff an opportunity to go through our plans to make the weekend special.”
Butler toured with his son, John Jr., and daughter, Maureen and came away impressed with the busts of past enshrinees.
“I looked at those heads and I hope that mine looks as good as theirs,” he said with a smile.
Both Butler and Dawson also received tours of museum’s Archives and Information Center where they were able to take a look back at information and memorabilia from their impressive playing careers. Then they sat down for a short one-on-one interview with the Hall of Fame’s Manager - Digital Media/Communications Pete Fierle. See links below to watch interviews.
On Monday, Feb.27, the Hall of Fame's Educational Outreach Program performed one of its character development series, "Heart of a Hall of Famer," with former Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle RAYFIELD WRIGHT. The program provided students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it took beyond athletic ability for Class of 2006 enshrinee to achieve great success.
Wright connected through videoconference and engaged with more than 280 students from 14 different schools from across the country. He discussed living life according to the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Wright also stressed the importance of education and learning by closing your mouth and opening your ears.
“Listen,” he said, “because you don’t learning anything by talking.”
Links related to this story:
HOF Bios: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Andy Robustelli, Bart Starr, Rayfield Wright, Steve Young
More: Heart of a Hall of Famer Program | Watch interviews - Jack Butler & Dermontti Dawson | Visit Haggar.com
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