DeBerry elected to College Football Hall of Fame
Wofford Athletic website, May 17, 2011
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Wofford graduate and former Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry '60 has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, according to an announcement Tuesday from the National Football Foundation Board of Directors. DeBerry, along with the other inductees, will be honored at the National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Joining DeBerry in the class of 2011 will be former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, Florida receiver Carlos Alvarez, Texas defensive lineman Doug English, Oregon State fullback Bill Enyart, Ohio State running back and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, Alabama defensive lineman Marty Lyons, Miami defensive lineman Russell Maryland, Florida State defensive back Deion Sanders, Georgia defensive back Jake Scott, Nebraska guard Will Shields, Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens, West Virginia linebacker Darryl Talley, Oklahoma halfback Clendon Thomas, Arizona defensive lineman Rob Waldrop and Michigan State receiver Gene Washington.
DeBerry, a 1960 graduate of Wofford College, served as head coach at Air Force for a brilliant 23-year career which concluded with his retirement on Dec. 15, 2006. He earned 17 winning marks in his 23 seasons at Air Force, directing his teams to 12 bowl games. He claimed three Western Athletic Conference championships and directed the 1998 squad to a 12-1 finish and a No. 10 ranking, capping the only back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history.
DeBerry's teams made Colorado Springs the perennial home for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, capturing the crown 14 times and claiming a 35-11 record versus Army and Navy. He was honored with national Coach of the Year honors in his second season after coaching the Falcons to a 12-1 record, a No. 8 final AP ranking and a Bluebonnet Bowl victory over Texas. He also defeated Notre Dame three times.
DeBerry coached two First Team All-Americans, 59 First Team All-Conference performers, 13 First Team Academic All-Americans and guided College Football Hall of Famer Chad Hennings to the Outland Trophy in 1987.
DeBerry became one of the most respected coaches in the game for his efforts off the field as well. In 1996, DeBerry served as president of the powerful and prestigious American Football Coaches Association, a 10,000-member organization headquartered in Waco, Texas, and founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg and John W. Heisman, among others. DeBerry has also served as chairman of the AFCA ethics committee. He was honored by the Independence Bowl as a member of its Hall of Fame. In 2005, DeBerry was honored with induction into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in the class of 2005.
DeBerry has received other impressive awards for his efforts on and off the field during his career. He received the State Farm Coach of Distinction award in 2001, joining coaches like Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Tyrone Willingham of Washington as recipients. He was also inducted into the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Wofford during its graduation ceremony in 2003.
A native of Cheraw, S.C., DeBerry graduated in 1960 from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where he lettered in football and baseball. DeBerry played second base and shortstop in baseball and flanker, defensive back and linebacker in football. He is a member of the Wofford Hall of Fame.
After six years of coaching and teaching in the South Carolina high school ranks, DeBerry returned to Wofford, where he stayed two years as an assistant when Wofford won 21 consecutive games and was ranked No. 1 in the NAIA. Wofford played Texas A&I for the national small college championship. However, it was during a nine-year stop at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., where his work with the wishbone began to blossom.
The coach grew up in Cheraw, S.C., (pop. 5,505). In high school, DeBerry was a four-sport letterwinner. He lettered five times in baseball, three each in football and basketball and twice in track. He was an all-state selection in baseball and football and played in the all-state football game.
DeBerry was born June 9, 1938. His wife, LuAnn, grew up just around the corner from the DeBerry home in Cheraw. They have a son (Joe) and daughter (Michelle) and seven grandchildren. The DeBerrys started the Fisher DeBerry Foundation in 2004. The foundation exists to provide children of single parent homes life changing opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. They pay to send children to sports camps and other activities.