July 28, 2009

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Despite the lack of a football program, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore continues to make gridiron history.

Over the weekend, Roger Brown became the second person in the history of UMES to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, in South Bend, Ind. He joins former Hawks football coach and 2006 inductee Vernon "Skip" McCain.

"I thought it was outstanding," Brown said of the ceremony. "They treated us like kings. Never in my wildest had I ever expected to be a part of the College Football Hall of Fame."

Brown, a resident of Portsmouth, Va., played at then-Maryland State from 1956-59 as a defensive lineman. Over that stretch, the Hawks outscored opponents 693 to 213, thanks to a defense anchored by Brown that held opponents to 7.3 points per game. In 1960, Brown began his professional career with the Detroit Lions, and later the Los Angeles Rams, lasting nine seasons with six Pro Bowl appearances.

Brown and McCain are not alone in their accomplishments as Hawks.

Of the 96 football players enshrined in the UMES Hawks Hall of Fame, an additional two -- Johnny Sample and Sylvester "Swifty" Polk -- previously have been nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame, but have yet to be inducted.

As UMES athletic director Keith Davidson points out, such honors speak to the university's tradition of football -- a tradition that lives on.

"It's really just the start," Davidson said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see more former [UMES] players nominated in the future."

This article appears compliments of The Daily Times and writer Colin Murfree. It can be viewed here.

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