Fisher DeBerry has been gone from the Air Force Academy since after the 2006 season, but the longtime head coach's many accomplishments haven't been forgotten across the college football world.
DeBerry, now 72 and living near Tulsa, Okla., was named this morning to the latest class of inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame. Only two coaches were chosen, and the other was Lloyd Carr of Michigan.
DeBerry first came to Air Force as an offensive assistant in 1980 under head coach Ken Hatfield, bringing the triple-option wishbone to the Falcons. He quickly turned the AFA offense into a machine, leading the way to bowl victories after the 1982 and 1983 seasons as well as two straight wins over Notre Dame. Hatfield left following the 1983 season for Arkansas, and DeBerry took over as head coach.
His first two Air Force teams went 8-4 and 12-1, adding two more victories against Notre Dame as well as two more bowl wins, including a 24-16 conquest of Texas in the 1985 Bluebonnet Bowl at Houston.
During his 23 years at the helm, DeBerry won six bowls in all, including back-to-back upsets of Ohio State (1990) and Mississippi State (1991) in the Liberty Bowl. He guided the Falcons to another 12-1 record in 1998, winning the Western Athletic Conference title. His final bowl victory came after the 2000 season against Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Classic.
DeBerry finished with a record of 169-109-1.
He's the fourth Air Force inductee, joining defensive lineman Chad Hennings, offensive lineman Brock Strom and the Falcons' first coach in their formative years, Buck Shaw (who also coached at four other schools).
The players selected include Deion Sanders, defensive back, Florida State; Eddie George, running back, Ohio State; and Florida receiver Carlos Alvarez, Texas defensive lineman Doug English, Oregon State fullback Bill Enyart, Alabama defensive lineman Marty Lyons, Miami defensive lineman Russell Maryland, Georgia defensive back Jake Scott, Nebraska guard Will Shields, Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens, West Virginia linebacker Darryl Talley, Oklahoma halfback Clendon Thomas, Arizona defensive lineman Rob Waldrop, and Michigan State receiver Gene Washington.