NFF College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Dick Jauron
ASN will profile all 17 new members in advance of the Dec. 8 NFF awards dinner in New York City.
Dick Jauron comes from a by-gone era of Ivy League football when the sport was still competing in the NCAA’s top division. Although Yale regularly put players in the College Football Hall Fame (23 from 1951-81), Jauron becomes the first Bulldog player to make it in 34 years and the first to have played after World War II.
Jauron’s first trip to the NFF Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was as an NFF National Scholar Athlete in 1972.
“I have only been present at the 1972 dinner, and I was greatly impressed by the scope of the event, the energized atmosphere and the presence of so many people who I admired,” Jauron said. “Meeting our future President, Gerald Ford, was certainly one of the highlights of a great event.”
Jauron is one of three former NSAs in the 2015 Hall of Fame Class, along with Nebraska’s Trev Alberts (1993) and Notre Dame’s Thom Gatewood (1971).
Jauron’s induction comes 13 years after his head coach at Yale, Carmen Cozza, entered the Hall of Fame in 2002.
“I used to tell people that Dick was so good, you could be in a phone booth with him for 20 minutes and never touch him,” Cozza has said of the football/baseball star at Yale.
Jauron, the first Yale running back to gain 1,000 yards rushing in a season, got his football genes from his father, Bob, a high school and college star and later a football coach at all levels. Bob Jauron, a member of the Boston College football team coached by Frank Leahy, played in the 1940 Cotton Bowl and the 1941 Sugar Bowl.
Yale teammate Jack Ford, now an NFF Board Member, was a year older than Jauron, and he remembers his first encounter in 1970 with Jauron, a sophomore. Jauron had played on the freshman team the season before.
“We had heard about Jauron,” Ford said. “Notre Dame had desperately wanted him. Our first scrimmage, I was a monster back (on defense). They throw a little swing pass. I come flying across. I think I have a bead on this guy. I remember hitting nothing. I am flying through air and I do not put a finger on him. I thought to myself, ‘Yep this kid is the real deal.’”
Jauron perfected the art of cutting back on his runs. He had a significant 87-yard run on a cutback in 1972, rallying the Bulldogs from a 14-12 deficit in the fourth quarter to a 28-14 victory against Columbia. He also set a then Yale record of 194 yards rushing in a 28-7 victory over Connecticut in 1972.
“There is a unique thrill and feel about a victorious locker room that stays with you forever,” Jauron said. “That was all that was important about those specific plays. They contributed to victories on those Saturdays so long ago.”
His college career included 16 games rushing for more than 100 yards. After scoring the only touchdown in the East’s 9-3 victory over the West in the East-West Shrine Bowl, he was selected in the fourth round (91st overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. The St. Louis Cardinals also picked him (a shortstop) in the 25th round of the baseball draft.
Jauron went the NFL route, and he played eight seasons at free safety for the Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, collecting 25 interceptions in 100 games. Now 65, he was an assistant for several teams and the head coach of the Chicago Bears (1999-2003) and later the Buffalo Bills (2006-09).
Above: Dick Jauron, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Trev Alberts and Zach Thomas, were also honored as scholar athletes as well. (Courtesy Yale Athletics)