Former University of Kentucky star defensive end Art Still will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in New York City. There will be a news conference at 9 a.m., and the awards dinner will be at 8 p.m. Both will be televised online at ESPN3.
“It’s humbling to be selected because I didn’t do it alone,” Still said when the Hall of Fame class was first announced in January. “It’s a compliment to all the guys I played with and the coaches.”
Originally from Camden, N.J., Still played at Kentucky from 1974-77 under coach Fran Curci. Still helped the Wildcats to a 19-4 record in his final two seasons. UK was 9-3 during his junior year, and won a share of the Southeastern Conference championship. They capped the season with a 21-0 win against North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. The Cats were ranked 18th in the final Associated Press poll.
UK was 10-1 during his senior season, finishing the campaign at No. 6 in the final AP ranking.
Still was a four-year starter who totaled 327 tackles during his career, according a news release by UK Athletics. Quarterback sacks were not kept during his career. Tackles for loss were available only for his senior year, when he compiled 22, a school record that still stands.
Still was a unanimous first-team All-America selection in 1977 as chosen by the Associated Press, United Press International, Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Sporting News and Football News.
Still was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and the UPI National Lineman of the Year. He was the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club of South Jersey College Player of the Year.
As supplied by UK Athletics, Still’s performances inspired numerous memorable quotes during his collegiate days:
“He’s just a great player. He divides the field in half, and I tell my boys to run at the other half!” — Hall of Fame Coach Charlie McClendon of LSU.
“The person who said Art Still covered one whole side of the field was right! He looked like a mountain out there! He might be as fine a defensive end as there is in the country … or a defensive player.” — North Carolina Coach Bill Dooley after UK shut out the No. 19-ranked Tar Heels in the Peach Bowl.
“I just feel Art is probably the best defensive end in the country, better than (eventual Hall of Famer) Ross Browner of Notre Dame. Anyway, I haven’t seen any end I’d take over him.” — New York Jets assistant coach Carroll Huntress, whose thoughts were proved correct when Still was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
“My word, you’re a big one, aren’t you?” — Prince Charles of England, when the heir to the English throne met Art at a Kentucky game.
When asked his biggest thrill at Kentucky, Still said, “The sports side was nice but what I remember most are the relationships with my teammates and classmates. Where I came from in Camden, it was predominantly African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. (At UK) I learned how to deal with people from different environments, how to relate to people and treat people. We had players from all parts of the country and we learned to treat people the way we wanted to be treated.
“Teammates like Derrick Ramsey, Billy Williams, Mike Martin, Jerry Blanton, Dallas Owens. Coach Curci. (Strength coach) Pat Etcheberry, who set the foundation for discipline, weight training and speed. You take all those things — family, friends, teammates, coaches — and they made you a better person,” he said..
After being chosen second overall in the 1978 NFL Draft (behind only Earl Campbell), Still went on to a record-setting 12-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, set Kansas City records for most sacks in a career (73) and season (14.5, twice), and was second in team history in total tackles (992).
Additional Wildcats in the College Football Hall of Fame include tackle Bob Gain (1947-50), quarterback Vito “Babe” Parilli (1949-51), end Steve Meilinger (1951-53), Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (1946-53), tackle Lou Michaels (1955-57) and Jerry Claiborne, who played at UK in 1946, ’48-49 and was head coach of the Cats from 1982-89. Bernie Shively, who was athletics director at UK from 1938-67 and was head coach of the Cats in 1945, was inducted to the Hall of Fame in recognition of his playing days at Illinois.
In addition to Still, this year’s Hall of Fame class includes Trev Alberts (Nebraska), Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Sean Brewer (Millsaps), Ruben Brown (Pittsburgh), Wes Chandler (Florida), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame), Dick Jauron (Yale), Clinton Jones (Michigan State), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), the late Rob Lytle (Michigan), Michael Payton (Marshall), Zach Thomas (Texas Tech), Ricky Williams (Texas) and coaches Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Jim Tressel (Youngstown State, Ohio State).