SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Joe Kapp’s never-say-die attitude was in the College Football Hall of Fame long before he was.

Every day fans visit the hall and watch the five-lateral kickoff return the Kapp-coached Cal team used in 1982 to beat Stanford 25-20. Kevin Moen finished “The Play” by running over a Stanford band trombonist.

“The play didn’t fall out of the sky,” Kapp said Saturday. “Was it an accident, good luck or coaching? It wasn’t an accident.”

It wasn’t an accident that Kapp was being enshrined Saturday in the College Football Hall of Fame, either. But he was being enshrined for his playing ability, not his coaching.

Oklahoma middle guard Tony Casillas, Penn State running back Lydell Mitchell, Southern Mississippi punter Ray Guy and 16 others were enshrined along with Kapp.

Kapp said it was the lessons he learned as a player at Cal in the late 1950s that helped the Golden Bears beat Stanford 24 years later.

“I learned: Be ready when opportunity comes. Never give up,”‘ he said. “My credo in the 1969 Super Bowl year for the Minnesota Vikings was 40 for 60.’ Forty players for 60 minutes. That was the attitude of our Rose Bowl team.”

That attitude helped the Golden Bears improve from 1-9 a season earlier to 7-4 in 1958, as Kapp threw for 775 yards and ran for 616 yards. He doesn’t think of being enshrined as an honor for him, but for the entire team – the last Cal squad to play in the Rose Bowl.

“Quarterbacks get too much credit,” he said. “Football’s a team game. So when you get the honors, I know what goes into it. This is a team honor.”

Casillas said he was overwhelmed when he learned that nearly 5 million men have played college football but fewer than 1,000 have been honored by the hall.

“That kind of puts everything in perspective,” said Casillas, who won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman in helping the Sooners to a national championship in 1985. “The hall really brings the adrenaline out in you.”

Mitchell rushed for a then-NCAA record 26 touchdowns in 1971.

“Some of us had to wait longer than others,” said Mitchell, who played for the Nittany Lions 1969-71. “But whenever you get in it’s just a fantastic feeling. Penn Staters who came before me said: Just wait for the experience. I can’t describe it to you.’ And it’s been wonderful.”

Guy, despite being the first punter enshrined, doesn’t believe the position is overlooked.

“I think it’s just a matter of time before they start putting more in here,” he said. “It’s a part of the game that’s very important. It’s very critical to the game. The recognition is coming.”

AP-ES-08-13-05 1806EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.