Ex-Cat Couch on college football Hall of Fame ballot for first time

March 6, 2014 

Original Air Raid: UK quarterback Tim Couch (2) talked to Coach Hal Mumme and receiver Craig Yeast in the Outback Bowl.

DALLAS — Former University of Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch is among the stars making their first appearance on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot this year.

Some of the other notable first-timers on the ballot released Thursday are Heisman Trophy-winning running backs Rashaan Salaam of Colorado and Ricky Williams of Texas, Iowa State running back Troy Davis, a two-time Heisman finalist, Miami linebacker Ray Lewis, and Southern California receiver Keyshawn Johnson.

Kentucky defensive tackle Art Still, Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas and Nebraska Heisman winner Eric Crouch are among the holdovers on the 75-player major college ballot. There are also six coaches up for selection, including Mike Bellotti of Oregon.

More than 12,000 National Football Foundation members receive ballots. Their votes are tabulated and then given to the NFF's 17-member honors court, which selects a class of about 14 players and two coaches.

The 2014 Hall of Fame class will be announced in May and inducted in December at the National Football Foundation's awards banquet in New York. The new class will be enshrined at the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta in 2015. The new Hall of Fame is expected to open in time for the 2014 college football season.

Couch, who was born in Hyden and played high school football at Leslie County, played for UK from 1996-98. An All-America selection after his junior season, Couch became the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Couch, a Heisman Trophy finalist, set several school records. He completed 795 of 1,184 career passes for 8,435 yards and 74 touchdowns.

Mizzou contract extension

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri football Coach Gary Pinkel has signed a new contract that boosts his annual salary above $3 million and extends his previous deal by three years.

The new deal increases his guaranteed salary from $2.8 million to $3.1 million and boosts the total salary of his assistant coaches by $540,000, to $3.2 million. That includes $50,000 raises for both offensive coordinator Josh Henson and defensive coordinator Dave Steckel.

The 61-year-old Pinkel has a career record of 102-63 in 13 seasons at Missouri. He surpassed Don Faurot last season as the school's winningest coach. The Tigers finished 12-2 and won the SEC's Eastern Division title in their second year in the league.

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