TOLEDO, Ohio — After decades of waiting and cutting through red tape, legendary University of Toledo quarterback Chuck Ealey will finally take his place in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced a 21-member class Monday, including Ealey and former Toledo and Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. The induction ceremony will take place Dec. 6 at a location yet to be determined.
"I'm really delighted," Ealey said in an interview with WTOL 11's Jordan Strack. "Not only for me, but for the university and my teammates. I sent a message out to as many as I could to say 'thank you' for what they meant. Hopefully this means something to them as well."
Ealey was one of college football's first great Black quarterbacks. He never lost a game as the Rockets signal-caller, piling up a 35-0 record from 1969-1971, and won three straight Tangerine Bowls.
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”
Many have wondered why a player of Ealey's caliber was left out of the hall of fame for so long.
One of the criteria used by the hall requires players to have been named a first-team All-American by an NCAA-recognized outlet. Ealey was named a first-teamer by the Football News in 1971.
The Football News wasn't an officially recognized organization at the time, but it is today.
The issue was re-examined in 2021 by college football writer RJ Young in a story. That prompted former NFL head coach and Super Bowl champion Tony Dungy to make the case for Ealey on Twitter.
A couple exceptions have been made in the past for players in Ealey's situation.
In three seasons for the Rockets, Ealey threw for 5,000 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions. He also rushed for 903 yards and 12 TDs.
Ealey went undrafted after college, but played seven seasons in the Canadian Football League, throwing for 13,326 yards and 82 touchdowns. He led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup championship in 1972.
Pinkel compiled a record of 73-37-3 at UT from 1991-2000 before accepting the head coaching job at Missouri. He led the Rockets to 1995 Mid-American Conference title.
He is the all-time leader in wins at both schools.
FULL 2022 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HOF CLASS
- LaVar Arrington – LB, Penn State (1997-99)
- Champ Bailey – DB, Georgia (1996-98)
- Michael Crabtree – WR, Texas Tech (2007-08)
- Sylvester Croom – C, Alabama (1972-74)
- Mike Doss – S, Ohio State (1999-2002)
- Chuck Ealey – QB, Toledo (1969-71)
- Kevin Faulk – AP/RB, LSU (1995-98)
- Moe Gardner – DT, Illinois (1987-90)
- Boomer Grigsby – LB, Illinois State (2001-04)
- Mike Hass – WR, Oregon State (2002-05)
- Marvin Jones – LB, Florida State (1990-92)
- Andrew Luck – QB, Stanford (2009-11)
- Mark Messner – DT, Michigan (1985-88)
- Terry Miller – RB, Oklahoma State (1974-77)
- Rashaan Salaam – RB, Colorado (1992-94)
- Dennis Thomas – C, Alcorn State (1971-73)
- Zach Wiegert – OT, Nebraska (1991-94)
- Roy Williams – DB, Oklahoma (1999-2001)
- John Luckhardt – 225-70-2 (76.1%); Washington & Jefferson [PA] (1982-98), California [PA] (2002-11)
- Billy Jack Murphy – 91-44-1 (67.3%); Memphis (1958-71)
- Gary Pinkel – 191-110-3 (63.3%); Toledo (1991-2000), Missouri (2001-15)