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Four coaches join College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Ralph Friedgen, Paul Johnson, Mark Richt and Frank Solich are eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation on Monday released the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, which includes four new coaches.

Ralph Friedgen, Paul Johnson, Mark Richt and Frank Solich are eligible for enshrinement into the game's ultimate honor for the first time.

The four are joined by five holdovers -- Larry Blakeney, Jim Carlen, Pete Cawthon, Sr., Larry Coker and Darryl Rogers -- are on the '23 ballot. Two will ultimately join the 2023 class.

Thirty-three coaches are on the divisional ballot, including former Colgate coach Dick Biddle, Lakeland (D-III - WI) and Shepherd (D-II - WV) coach Monte Carter, former Wagner coach Walt Hameline, and former Trinity (D-III - TX) coach Steve Mohr. Eighty FBS players and 96 divisional players are also on the ballot.

To qualify for the ballot, coaches must serve in a head coaching capacity for at least 10 seasons (100 game minimum) and win at least 60 percent of his games. Eligible coaches join the ballot when they are three years removed from the game or immediately upon retirement if they are 70 or older. Active coaches become eligible to join the ballot at 75 years old.

Recent College Football Hall of Fame Coaches
2022 class
--
John Luckhardt, Washington & Jefferson (Pa.); California (Pa.)
-- Billy Jack Murphy,  Memphis
-- Gary Pinkel, Missouri 

2021 class
--
Rudy Hubbard, Florida A&M
-- Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

2020 class
-- Dick Sheridan, Furman; NC State
-- Andy Talley, St. Lawrence (N.Y).; Villanova

"It's an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.54 million people have played college football and only 1,056 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 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class early next year."

Here are capsules for the FBS ballot newcomers:

-- Ralph Friedgen: A Maryland graduate, Friedgen went 75-50 in 10 seasons at his alma mater. His tenure got off to a blistering start, going 10-2 with an ACC championship in 2001, 11-3 in 2002 and 10-3 in '03. The Terps posted AP top-20 finishes all three years; the program has not recorded an AP top-20 finish since, and most recently prior to that run recorded three straight AP top-20 finishes from 1974-76. The 2001 ACC title was the program's first since 1985 (also its most recent), and its Orange, Peach and Gator bowl trips in those three seasons are also the program's most recent New Year's Day bowl games.

-- Paul Johnson: A champion of the triple-option offense, Johnson won two FCS national championships at Georgia Southern, five Commander-in-Chief's Trophies in six seasons at Navy, and an ACC championship at Georgia Tech. He went 189-100 with 19 postseason appearances across 22 seasons at the three schools.

-- Mark Richt: Richt went 145-51 in 15 seasons at Georgia and 26-13 in three at Miami, his alma mater. Richt won 10 games or more 10 times, posted seven AP top-10 finishes (including No. 3 in 2002 and No. 2 in '07), and won two SEC championships. At Miami, Richt led the Hurricanes to their first ACC Coastal championship and the program's first New Year's Six bowl game in 13 years.

-- Frank Solich: Taking over for the legendary Tom Osborne, Solich went 58-19 in six seasons before he was pushed out for the sin of not being the legendary Tom Osborne. His 6-year run represents the gold standard for Nebraska football in the post-Osborne era, including a 12-1 record, a Big 12 title, a Fiesta Bowl win and a No. 3 AP ranking in 1999. Nebraska finished in the AP top-20 five times in his six seasons, and in the AP top-10 thrice. Solich reinvented himself at Ohio, going 115-82 with 11 bowl games in 16 seasons. His 115 wins are the most in school history.

In addition to the four coaches, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and Penn State wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield are also on the ballot for their performance as players.

National Football Foundation membership has a vote in the Hall of Fame process, which will ultimately be selected by the NFF Honors Court. The 2023 class will be announced in January and inducted during the 65th annual NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2023.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.