Jerry Jones Among the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (Photo courtesy of Keith Allison)

Seven individuals who helped shape the tradition of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and college football history will be inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame during enshrinement ceremonies this spring at AT&T Stadium.

The honorees in the 12th Hall of Fame Class include Kansas State quarterback Jonathan Beasley, Notre Dame split end Thom Gatewood, Arkansas guard and Owner/President/General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones, Ole Miss halfback Dexter McCluster, Texas defensive end Cory Redding, Boston College linebacker Bill Romanowski, and Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder.

The induction ceremony for The Class of 2020 will be held on the west concourse of AT&T Stadium in Arlington next spring. The exact date is still to be finalized. The hour-long ceremony is free and open to the public.

“Those extraordinary individuals whose unique talents formed the pageantry and prestige of one of college football’s most historic postseason bowl games are showcased in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame,” said Carl R. Ice, Chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association (CBAA). “The Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame allows fans to revisit the rich tradition of outstanding college football played annually here in North Texas.”

A judging committee comprised of media representatives and athletic administrators voted from a ballot consisting of 60 nominees that included former players, coaches, bowl administrators and others who have made special contributions to the Classic.

Selection criteria for the Hall of Fame include the following:

• Voting is based solely upon an individual’s performance in – or contribution to – the Classic rather than on the person’s overall college or professional career.

• An individual is eligible five years after their final Classic appearance.

Since its first game in 1937, the Classic has hosted:

• 143 College Football Hall of Famers
• 27 Pro Football Hall of Famers
• 9 Heisman Trophy winners
• 7 Walter Camp Award Winners
• 7 Maxwell Award winners
• 6 Outland Trophy winners
• 4 Davey O’Brien Award winners
• 4 Johnny Unitas Award winners
• 4 Lombardi Award winners
• 3 Doak Walker Award winners
• 3 William Campbell Award winners
• 3 Jim Thorpe Award winners

THE CLASS OF 2020

JONATHAN BEASLEY, KANSAS STATE, QUARTERBACK
2001 Classic: Kansas State 35, Tennessee 21
Rushing: 17 attempts, 98 yards, 1 TD
Passing: 13-27-1, 210 yards, 2 TD

Nothing seemed to faze Kansas State senior quarterback Jonathan Beasley. Not even a playing field covered in snow after a winter storm blew through North Texas just hours before the start of the 2001 Cotton Bowl Classic. Beasley set records for first-half efficiency by rolling up 238 yards in total offense against Tennessee. On the ground or through the air, he was relentless. The K-State quarterback scampered 14 yards for the game’s first score, and he then passed for touchdowns of 56 and 10 yards. By the time the third quarter rolled around, most of the snow had evaporated along with Tennessee’s chances of winning. Beasley and the Wildcats pounded out 507 yards in offense and then cruised to a rousing 35-21 defeat of the Volunteers.

*****

THOM GATEWOOD, NOTRE DAME, SPLIT END
1970 Classic: Texas 21, Notre Dame 17
1971 Classic: Notre Dame 24, Texas 11
1970 Receiving: 6 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD
1971 Receiving: 2 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD

Split end Thom Gatewood was an All-American in every sense of the word. He was Notre Dame’s go-to receiver, a member of the Dean’s List, and an inspirational role model for youth everywhere. This humble student-athlete had a special gift, and it was evident to all in his two Cotton Bowl appearances against top-ranked Texas. In the 1970 Classic, the speedy receiver hauled in a 54-yard scoring pass to push the Irish to a 10-0 lead. A year later, Gatewood and company were back at the Cotton Bowl to face Texas again, and just like the year before, he led the charge. Thom’s 26-yard touchdown catch put the Irish on track to a stirring 24-11 victory that snapped the Horns’ 30-game winning streak. In three seasons, he amassed 157 receptions, a mark that stood for 34 years as the receiving standard at Notre Dame.

*****

JERRY JONES, ARKANSAS, GUARD / DALLAS COWBOYS, OWNER/PRESIDENT/
GENERAL MANAGER

1965 Classic: Arkansas 10, Nebraska 7
Dallas Cowboys: 1989-Present
Team Statistics: 45 yards rushing, 131 passing, 176 yards in total offense

Jerry Jones was the co-captain of Arkansas’ national championship team…the team that rallied in the game’s waning minutes of the 1965 Cotton Bowl to drive 80 yards for the winning touchdown that secured a 10-7 victory over Nebraska. Football fans are well aware of his success with the Dallas Cowboys. However, what most people are not aware of is his intense passion for the Cotton Bowl. During the construction of AT&T Stadium, Jerry invited the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association to play the Classic in his new stadium. He knew that was the missing element to restoring the game to greatness, solidifying its future, and eventually becoming a part of the College Football Playoff. His efforts behind the scenes helped the Classic take the all-important step toward regaining its position among the elite of postseason college football.

*****
 

DEXTER McCLUSTER, OLE MISS, HALFBACK
2009 Classic: Ole Miss 47, Texas Tech 34
2010 Classic: Ole Miss 21, Oklahoma State 7
2009 Rushing: 14 attempts, 97 yards, 1 TD
2009 Receiving: 6 receptions, 83 yards
2010 Rushing: 34 attempts, 184 yards, 2 TDs
2010 Receiving: 5 receptions, 45 yards

Dexter McCluster was a defender’s nightmare. He was small in stature, yet big in heart, and simply too quick and fast for any mere mortal to bring down in the open field. The slippery Ole Miss halfback became the second offensive player to earn back-to-back MVP honors, sharing the feat with the legendary Doak Walker. In 2009, the last Classic played in Cotton Bowl Stadium, McCluster fueled a 47-34 victory over Texas Tech with 180 all-purpose yards. He proved to be even more elusive a year later as Ole Miss christened AT&T Stadium with a 21-7 defeat of Oklahoma State. His 86-yard dash for the Rebels’ first score was the key play of the game. Afterward, McCluster said, “Keep telling me I’m too small. Keep telling me I can’t do it…because in the long run, I’m going to do it.”

*****
 

CORY REDDING, TEXAS, DEFENSIVE END
2003 Classic: Texas 35, LSU 20
Defensive Statistics: 8 tackles, 5 unassisted
Tackles for Loss: 4 tackles for minus-23 yards
Quarterback Sacks: 1 sack for minus-18 yards

Cory Redding accomplished some amazing things in his career, on and off the football field. The All-America defensive end is the Longhorns’ fourth leading tackler for lost yardage. And, at Texas, that’s saying something. In 2003, Redding collected eight tackles in a 35-20 victory over LSU. Five of them were solo stops and four resulted in 23 yards in losses, including a sack of minus-18 yards. With numbers like that, quarterbacks and running backs tried to avoid him at all costs. His mantra of “We Can, We Will, We Must,” inspired teammates to meet the challenge and leave nothing on the field. Redding’s leadership qualities translated into community service where he utilized football as a platform to mentor youth and lend a helping hand to many. This ultimate team player played the game of football and the game of life at an extremely high level.

*****

BILL ROMANOWSKI, BOSTON COLLEGE, LINEBACKER
1985 Classic: Boston College 45, Houston 28
Defensive Statistics: 13 tackles, 11 unassisted, 1 PBU
Tackles for Loss: 1 tackle for -3 yards

Boston College linebacker Bill Romanowski stole the show in the 1985 Classic. He stalked Houston running backs all day long, roaming from sideline to sideline to make 13 tackles. Eleven of those stops were unassisted, a number that tied an existing Cotton Bowl defensive record for solo tackles. It was an inspiring and intimidating performance. Maybe even more significant was that in the process of helping the Eagles earn a runaway 45-28 victory, Romanowski became the Classic’s first true freshman to earn MVP honors. Throughout his college career and in 16 seasons in the NFL, he gave his heart and soul to the game of football. A four-time Super Bowl champion, Romanowski was an unyielding force, an intense competitor, and a player possessing the determination to become the best defensive player in the game.

*****

COACH BILL SNYDER, KANSAS STATE
1997 Classic: BYU 19, Kansas State 15
2001 Classic: Kansas State 35, Tennessee 21
2012 Classic: Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16
Classic Record: 1-2-0

No job was too big for Bill Snyder. Not even a program that had experienced limited success until he set foot on the Kansas State campus in 1989. His tireless work ethic and intense dedication transformed the Wildcats into a national contender that tallied six 11-win seasons over a seven-year stretch and logged 11 consecutive bowl appearances. With his guidance, the Kansas State program became the model of consistency. The Wildcats landed in three Cotton Bowl Classics, highlighted by a dominating 35-21 defeat of Tennessee in the 2001 game. In 2015, he became one of only four active coaches to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. Three years later, he wrapped up a spectacular coaching career with 215 victories. Simply put, Coach Snyder is the architect of the greatest turnaround in college football history.