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Oregon's Rashad gets a run into Hall of Fame.

Byline: Ron Bellamy The Register-Guard

Ahmad Rashad, who starred for the University of Oregon football team as Bobby Moore and went on to achieve prominence both as an NFL wide receiver and an internationally recognized sportscaster, has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced Wednesday.

Rashad becomes the fifth former Oregon player to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and the first in more than 20 years.

"My college experience was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life," Rashad said, in statement released by the university. "Eugene was a wonderful place to try to find yourself as a person and my time there is something I'll always cherish."

As Bobby Moore, Rashad played wide receiver and then running back for the Ducks and was a three-time all-Pac-8 selection, from 1969 through 1971, and a two-time all-America selection.

"The big schools wanted Moore," the late UO coach Jerry Frei said of the athlete from Tacoma in "Oregon Ducks Football: 100 Years of Glory."

"I think what led Bobby to Oregon more than anything was that he felt a bit of kinship to our thinking. Those were tough days for a black kid with an Afro haircut. That affected people's thinking in those days, strangely enough. Length of hair was a real factor."

At a time of campus unrest and national turmoil, Frei - a former photo recon pilot who flew 67 combat missions in the Pacific in World War II - was noted for his open-minded tolerance and for his compassion for his athletes.

"For me, it was the perfect spot," Rashad said of Oregon. "It was a socially active place and there was so much going on at the time. I had a football coach in Jerry Frei that allowed us to be more than football players.

"He encouraged us to be students and to have a social conscience and that's all anyone can ask for.

"When I say `Go Ducks,' I really mean it."

On the field, Bobby Moore was electrifying. On Oregon teams that provided some of the most memorable wins in school history, and some disappointing losses - and that played to a three-year mark of 16-15-2 - he established what, at the time, were UO records in single-game rushing, 249 yards; single-season rushing, 1,211 yards, and career rushing, 2,306 yards, as well as the single-season record for receptions (54) and career record for receptions (131)

"You could ask him to do anything," Frei once said. "Whether you handed him the football or threw him the football, some of the acrobatic, athletic things he showed you in the field were absolutely astounding."

Moore became the only player to lead the Pac-8 in scoring from two different positions - as a sophomore wide receiver in 1969, with 15 touchdowns on a league-high 54 catches in his first season of varsity competition (freshmen weren't eligible then) and as a tailback in 1970.

He set 14 school records at Oregon; he still ranks fifth on the all-time UO rushing list, sixth in receptions, sixth in all-purpose running with 3,898 yards, and tied for third in scoring with 226 points on 36 touchdowns and five two-point conversions. Ten times he rushed for at least 100 yards in a game.

Only running back Derek Loville, a four-year starter, scored more touchdowns for Oregon, with 45.

The fourth pick of the NFL Draft in 1972, Moore subsequently embraced the Islamic faith and became Ahmad Rashad - "Admirable One Led to Truth."

He played 10 years in the league as a wide receiver and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, catching 495 passes for 6,831 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Since the end of his NFL career, Rashad has become an Emmy winning sportscaster, best known for his work in covering the NBA, though he has also worked on coverage of the NFL and the Olympics.

He works as executive producer and host for NBA Entertainment produced series and specials, including the NBA TV pregame show, "Tuesday Night with Ahmad," and ABC's "NBA Access with Ahmad Rashad."

Previously, he was host of "NBA Inside Stuff" for 16 years.

In 1995, Rashad received the UO's Pioneer Award, the highest honor the university can bestow on a graduate.

Joining Rashad in the Hall of Fame, in voting by members of the National Football Foundation, were Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, Indiana running back Anthony Thompson, Oklahoma center Tom Brahaney, Michigan defensive back Dave Brown, Clemson linebacker Jeff Davis, Texas defensive back Johnnie Johnson, Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern, Houston defensive tackle Wilson Whitley, Dartmouth linebacker Reggie Williams, Southern California linebacker Richard Wood, Notre Dame defensive tackle Chris Zorich and Central Michigan coach Herb Deromedi.

The new Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the National Football Foundation's awards banquet in December and enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during the summer of 2008.

The other Ducks in the Hall are tackle J.W. Bennett, who played from 1913-16 and was inducted in 1972; halfback Johnny Kitzmiller, who played from 1928-30 and was inducted in 1969; quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, who played from 1946-48 and was inducted in 1966, and halfback Mel Renfro, who played from 1961-63 and was inducted in 1986.

Two former Oregon head coaches are in the Hall.

They are Len Casanova, who coached at Oregon from 1951-66 was inducted in 1977, and Hugo Bezdek, who coached the UO football team in 1906 and again from 1913 through 1917, and who also coached at Arkansas, Penn State and Delaware Valley. Bezdek was inducted in 1954.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 10, 2007
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