Navy legend Hardin named to College Football Hall of Fame


Wayne Hardin (Navy athletic department photo)

Two Heisman Trophy winners in a four-year span. A No. 2 national ranking by a service academy. A 10-win season with the Temple Owls, capped off by a postseason victory.

It is, without question, a resume that could belong to only one person. And now, after years on the ballot, it’s earned Navy (and Temple) coaching legend Wayne Hardin a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Wayne Hardin joins a 2013 class that includes Heisman-winning Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, two-time national-championship QB Tommie Frazier of Nebraska, all-world offensive lineman Orlando Pace of Ohio State and fellow unheralded head coach Bill McCartney, who led Colorado to its only national title and once rattled off 25 straight conference games without a loss.

See the whole 2013 class here and search for your favorite college legend here. Hardin’s the 24th Navy-related coach or athlete to reach the Hall of Fame, according to the Hall’s searchable database and Tuesday’s Navy athletic department release.

The release itself might be a Navy record-setter of some kind, with statements from Hall-of-Famers Hardin (“Being inducted in the Hall of Fame isn’t about me. It’s about all the players, assistant coaches, support staff and fans at Navy and Temple that contributed to our success. It is a great honor to be selected.”), 1963 Heisman winner Roger Staubach (“Coach Hardin was instrumental in me getting into the Hall of Fame. He is very deserving of this great honor.”) and 1960 winner Joe Bellino (“I don’t think it would have been possible for me to win the Heisman Trophy without Coach Hardin. … He put in some plays that highlighted my passing and running ability and I owe a lot to him.”) among others.

Hardin went 5-1 against Army and led the Mids to their highest-ever national ranking — No. 2 in The Associated Press poll after the 1963 season, which ended with a 28-6 loss in the Cotton Bowl to national-champion Texas.

The induction ceremony will be Dec. 10 in New York City. Interested in more on Hardin? Hit these links from the Temple side of the ledger, read this AP account of his start with the Owls (and his departure from Annapolis), and click below to see just how well-known Hardin was when he took over the Navy program at age 32 in 1959 (hint: Not very):


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