Rutgers Football in the College Football Hall of Fame

Paul Robeson

Paul RobesonPaul Robeson played four years for the famous coach, G. Foster Sanford. Rutgers had a 22-6-3 record in that time. In 31 games, Rutgers scored 941 points to opponents' 191. Robeson was a powerful contributor to that record....

Robeson was a two-time All-America end. Frank Menke named him All-America in 1917 and 1918. Walter Camp picked him in 1918. (Camp did not name an All-America team in 1917.) Following college, Robeson played three years as a pro - 1920 with Hammond, 1921 with Akron and 1922 with Milwaukee - in the American Professional Football League...

Paul RobesonHe obtained his law degree in 1923. At Rutgers, Robeson was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was valedictorian of the class of 1919. He won the college oratorical contest four straight years and gave the commencement address at graduation. He stood 6-3 in height and his weight was listed at 191 in early years, at 215 his senior season. This man of many talents became an actor, singer and lecturer. He was on Broadway and in the movies. His rich basso made his signature song "Ol' Man River" a classic. He starred in plays, such as "The Emporer Jones", "Othello", "Showboat", as well as many others, in the U.S., Europe and Africa. In 1925 he made a recording that sold 55,000 copies in four months. In 1972 he received the Whitney Young Memorial Award. Ebony Magazine called him "one of the 10 most important black men in American history."...

Paul Robeson was born April 9, 1898, in Princeton, N.J. His father, Rev. William Robeson, had escaped slavery in 1860 in North Carolina at age 15. His mother, Maria Bustill, was a teacher. When Paul was a high school senior, he won the statewide academic test and received a scholarship to Rutgers. In 1915 he was the third African American to enter Rutgers and the first to play football. He died January 23, 1976.

A true renaissance man, Robeson won 12 letters in four sports at Rutgers - four in football, three each in basketball and baseball, and two in track. After his tenure at Rutgers, he became an accomplished actor, singer and lecturer, and was recently commemorated on a US postal stamp.

Harvey Harman

Harvey HarmanFew men loved the game with the fervor of Harvey Harman, a huge man with a grand smile and a fierce dedication to the sport.

A former president of the American Football Coaches Association, Harman received that group's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, symbolic of outstanding service to the profession. It was not surprising that Harman achieved such acclaim, for he learned his football lessons from two of the game's mentors - Glenn "Pop" Warner and Jock Sutherland - while at Pittsburgh.

Harman was a starting tackle for the Panthers before taking his first coaching assignment at Haverford. From there he moved on to Sewanee (the University of the South), Pennsylvania and Rutgers.

It was at Rutgers that he had his greatest success, directing the Scarlet Knights to a 26-7-1 record before interrupting his career to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Harman returned to Rutgers after the war and led the Scarlet Knights for another 10 seasons before accepting a position as Executive Director of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, Inc. In that capacity, Harman became known as the goodwill ambassador for football, continuing to serve the game until his death in 1969. His career record lists a slate of 140-104-7.

Homer Hazel

Homer HazelHe parted his dark hair down the middle, in the fashion of the day, and his deep-set eyes glowed with a competitive fire. Homer Hazel, Rutgers' first Hall of Famer, was, without doubt, the most versatile player the Scarlet ever produced.

A natural athlete, Hazel excelled in various sports and was most successful as a track and field star. His speed and quickness served him well, for he once recovered his own kickoff in the enemy end zone for a touchdown.

Homer led Rutgers to identical 7-1-1 records in his final two seasons, earning All-American laurels in each. He was an end in 1923, when the only Scarlet loss was to West Virginia (27-7). He had Rutgers on the way to an unbeaten finish in 1924 - this time as a hard-hitting fullback - when Bucknell untracked the Scarlet in the final game of the season, 12-7. During the 1924 campaign, Homer Hazel established school records for most points after a touchdown and longest completed pass.

He could do it all. Carrying 226 pounds over a 5-foot-11 frame, Homer lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track at Rutgers. He later served as Athletic Director, football and basketball coach at the University of Mississippi for more than five years. He was a golf pro for four years, and a labor relations manager for more than 20 years.

Hazel won his first letter in football at Rutgers in 1916. He left school because of a lack of funds. Hazel worked at various jobs and, at age 28, played football again at Rutgers. Walter Camp named him All-America end in 1923, All-America fullback in 1924. Hazel was born June 2, 1895, and died February 3, 1968.

George Little

George LittleA graduate of Ohio Wesleyan, George Little opened his coaching career at the University of Cincinnati and produced a two-year record of 10-8-0 before moving up the road to Oxford, Ohio, home of the Miami Redskins, in 1916. There, Little brought the Redskins their first Conference Championship and a 7-0-1 mark.

After service in World War I, Little returned to Miami and directed the Red and White to yet another league crown and a three-year post-war record of 20-3-1. He also coached the Miami basketball and track teams, claiming a conference crown in the latter sport.

The 1922 and 1923 seasons found Little at Michigan under head coach Fielding Yost, the man he replaced in 1924. That year, Little's Wolverines were 6-2. The next season, Little was in Wisconsin as the new Athletic Director and head coach of the Badgers, and he led his charges to a two-year mark of 11-3-2. His teams displayed imagination and strength on offense, a unique ruggedness on defense.

Following his collegiate athletic career, Little found himself on the other side of athletics as the Athletic Director at Rutgers, and then served as executive secretary of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

George Foster Sanford

George SanfordAt the entrance to Rutgers Stadium, inscribed upon a bronze plaque, is a tribute to George Sanford. It was financed and installed by his players, the men "...he inspired to deeds beyond themselves."

Undoubtedly, Sanford was an inspirational leader of men, a gentleman who excelled as both player and coach. Sanford played center on the 1891 and 1892 Yale teams which held each of of their 26 opponents scoreless. Though he was never chosen to an All-America team, a 1927 poll named him the all-time Yale center.

Sanford began his coaching career at Columbia (1899-1901), called in to revive the football program which had been abandoned after the 1891 campaign. His 1899 team defeated Yale for the first time ever, and it was at Columbia that Sanford developed the famous "Flying Hurdle Play" which saw Harold Weekes catapulted over the scrimmage line. Moving to Rutgers (1913-23), Sanford had marked success as his club rolled to a 56-32-5 record. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" in 1917, after his Rutgers team beat the heavily-favored Newport Naval Reserve All-Stars, 14-0. Between his teams at Columbia and Rutgers, Sanford devoted his energy toward a successful insurance brokerage business.

Alex Kroll

Alex KrollKroll, a 6-2, 228-pound center and linebacker, was a major force in Rutgers compiling a 17-1 record in his two years of play "On the Banks." In 1960, the Knights under coach John Bateman were 8-1 and followed up with the school's first undefeated campaign, going 9-0 in 1961. Team captain of the lauded 1961 squad, Kroll was a two-time first-team All-ECAC choice and won first-team All-American honors from Associated Press, United Press International, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Look, and the American Football Coaches Association. Known as a "coach on the field," he was credited with making the quarterback sneak an offensive weapon as Rutgers scored seven TDs on that play in 1961 with Kroll clearing the way into the endzone for the signal-caller.

He was also a first-team All-East choice by the AP in 1961 and played in the North-South game and the Senior Bowl. In 1960, he was an honorable mention All-American. Following his senior season, he was a second-round draft pick of the New York Titans, playing for one season in 1962.

Kroll earned a BA in English Literature in 1962 and was a Henry Rutgers Scholar with a perfect grade point average in his major. He received a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Post-Graduate Scholarship in 1961. In 1986, he was awarded the Silver Anniversary Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association for his collegiate achievements.

Immediately following his last game with the Titans, he joined the workforce at Young & Rubicam, the world's largest independent advertising agency, as a copywriter. After a succession of writing and supervisory jobs in the creative department, he was named executive vice president and worldwide creative director in 1970. He was named president and chief operating officer in 1982 and, four years later, Kroll became chairman of Young & Rubicam. He is retired but still serves as Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam. He resides in Charlotte, VT, with his wife, Phyllis. They have three children.

SCARLET KNIGHTS
Official Store
Scarlet Knights Merchandise

Follow us!

Instagram