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Class of 1989 Inductees
Henry Benkert - Football
A consensus newspaper All-American in 1924, "Heinie" led the East in scoring with 100 points. Also a second-team All-American in lacrosse, Benkert gained 2,124 yards during his career, which was the sixth-best figure in Rutgers history. He served on the Rutgers football staff between 1944 and 1949 and played professionally with the New York Giants and three other pro teams.
William J. Leggett - Football
Leggett served as captain of the first Rutgers football team. While many of the Rutgers and Princeton players were socializing before the inaugural game on November 6, 1869, Leggett and the Princeton captain, William S. Gummere, developed the afternoon’s rules of play. Under Leggett’s leadership and tactical guidance, the Scarlet eked out a 6-4 victory. Leggett later became a distinguished clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church.
Frank Burns - Football
The winningest coach in Rutgers football history, "Flinging Frank" quarterbacked the Scarlet Knights to a four-year, 27-7 record in the late forties. An honorable mention All-American, he was named the MVP of the 1949 College All-Star game, amassing 17 tackles as a linebacker against the New York Giants. As head coach between 1973 and 1983, he recorded a masterful 78-43-1 mark.
Harry Rockafeller - Football, Athletic Administration
"Rocky" recorded a 33-26 overall mark. One of the founders of the Eastern Intercollegiate Lightweight Football League, he coached the 150-pounders between 1933 and 1937, posting a 22-3-1 record. Associated with the university in various capacities for nearly 40 years, the 1915 All-American end served as director of athletics between 1953 and 1961. He is a member of the National College Football Hall of Fame.
Dr. Hyman B. Copleman - Athletic Administrator/Special Contributor
"Copey" gained the respect and admiration of thousands of Rutgers athletes in his 50 years as team physician. One of the nation's most highly-decorated physicians of World War II, the humanitarian and philanthropist became known as the Dean of Sports Medicine in New Jersey. "Copey" received the Rutgers Medal and the Loyal Son of Rutgers Medal and established the Copleman Scholarship Fund for scholar-athletes majoring in the biological sciences and pre-medical studies.
George Foster Sanford - Coach, Football
Sanford was elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1971. A legend for his innovations and strategies, he also coached at Columbia at the turn of the century and is remembered with a plaque at Rutgers Stadium for his lasting influence on the character of his players. From 1913-1923, he led Rutgers to a fine 56-32-5 record. This period is recognized in Rutgers sports lore as the "Sanford Era."
John "Jack" Grossman - Football
A prototype triple-threat tailback, Grossman received honorable mention All-American recognition in 1931 and went on to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the NFL for four seasons. He also played professional baseball and soccer in Latin America. Grossman captained the 1931 Rutgers squad.
Howard Parker Talman - Football
"Tal" captained the 1915 Rutgers squad and scored a single-game record of 48 points on six touchdowns and 12 extra points against RPI. That season, he scored 138 total points, at the time, a Scarlet Knights record. On various All-America teams, Talman was recognized as a guard in 1913, as a halfback in 1914, and as a fullback in 1915. The versatile athlete played professionally for the Detroit Heralds and the Massillon Tigers.
James "JJ" Jennings - Football
This crunching runner led the nation in scoring in 1973, tallying 128 points, earning All-America honors and establishing Rutgers records with 2,935 career yards, 605 attempts and 33 touchdowns. He also owns the single-game marks of 40 attempts, and held the record of 230 yards for nearly 20 years. Jennings, who played professionally with the Memphis Southmen and the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League, was the league's Rookie of the Year in 1974.
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