Gary Pinkel and Larry Coker headlined the coaches portion of the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, released by the National Football Foundation on Wednesday. In total, 78 players and seven coaches are eligible at the FBS level, as well as 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
The 2022 class will be formally announced at a TBD date early next year and formally inducted at the 2022 NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 of next year. This year's NFF Dinner will return in December after taking a year off due to the pandemic and will move to Las Vegas's ARIA Resort & Casino after decades at New York's Waldorf-Astoria.
"It's an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.47 million people have played college football and only 1,038 players have been inducted," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The Hall's requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today's elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and we look forward to announcing the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class early next year."
To obtain eligibility, coaches must have spent at least 10 years as a head coach and win at least 60 percent of their games. They become eligible three years after retirement, immediately upon retirement for those 70 or older or, for active coaches, once they turn 75.
Coker is a first-time ballot member, having gone 86-47 in 11 seasons at Miami. He took over an 11-1 Miami team and immediately led the 'Canes to the 2001 national championship, in the conversation for the best team of college football's modern era. His 2002 team went undefeated until a double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the national championship game, and his '03 outfit went 11-2, won the Big East and the Orange Bowl, and finished No. 5 in the AP poll.
After four seasons out of the game, Coker returned to coaching in 2011 to get UTSA's program off the ground. Jumping almost immediately into the FBS level, he guided the Roadrunners to an 8-4 mark in their first season in the WAC and second overall, as well as a 7-5 mark in 2013, their first as Conference USA members.
Pinkel joined the ballot for the first time last year after retiring in 2015. The winningest coach in both Toledo and Missouri's histories, he went 73-37-3 in 10 seasons at Toledo and 118-73 in 15 at Mizzou.
Pinkel enjoyed eight winning records in his 10 Toledo seasons, peaking with an 11-0-1 record with a MAC title, a Las Vegas Bowl win and a No. 24 AP ranking in 1995. He also reached a bowl game three times in four seasons from 1997-00, concluding with a 10-1 mark and a share of the MAC West title in 2000.
At Mizzou, Pinkel posted five 10-win seasons, winning three Big 12 North titles and two SEC East crowns.
A third modern coach is also eligible in Troy's Larry Blakeney, who led the Trojans from 1991-2014 and remains the winningest coach in Sun Belt history.
Four long-time ballot members are Jim Carlen, Pete Cawthon, Sr., Billy Jack Murphy and Darryl Rogers. Rogers is the most recent of the bunch, having retired from coaching in 1984. Bob Stoops was the lone FBS coach in the 2021 Hall of Fame class; he joined the Hall alongside Florida A&M's Rudy Hubbard.
Additionally, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore were nominated for their accomplishments as players.
Heupel quarterbacked Oklahoma to the 2000 national title, Harrell left Texas Tech after the 2008 season as the Big 12's all-time leading passer, and Moore compiled a 50-3 record in four seasons as Boise State's starting quarterback. All players received at least one nationally recognized First Team All-America nod, as is required for players to earn entry to the ballot.
The full ballot can be found here, and NFF member votes are a portion of the NFF Honors Court's consideration for each class.