In an unusual move, the Tournament of Roses announced in a press release yesterday that four men will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Induction Ceremony on Dec. 30, 2015. The first three are footballers Mark Brunell, Fredrick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard and Tyrone Wheatley. The fourth is former Rose Bowl Game Media Director Jim Muldoon, who handled media operations and promotion from 1979 to 2007.
During the 29 years Muldoon held the position, media relations for The Granddaddy of Them All were handled by the Pac-10 Conference. He served 32 as associate commissioner of the Pac-10 with responsibilities in media relations, football administration and event management. The Notre Dame graduate worked for one year as an assistant sports information director at San Diego State University and four years for the San Francisco 49ers before joining the conference office. He and his wife, Rose-Meri, are parents of a son, Brian.
Brunell played in three Rose Bowl Games, beginning with his sophomore year in 1991, when the Huskies won 46-34 over Iowa. He was named Player of the Game. He completed a touchdown in the 1992 game, in which UW defeated Michigan 34-14, even though he had been sidelined for most of the season with a knee injury. The Green Bay Packers drafted him in 1993 and he later played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, where he played in Super Bowl XLIV. He is currently the head football coach for the Episcopal School of Jacksonville and an NFL analyst for ESPN. Mark and his wife, Stacy, have four children.
The 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016, will mark the 100 year anniversary for Pollard, who played for Brown against Washington. Even though he was small at 5 feet, 9 inches and 165 pounds, he led Brown to consecutive wins over Harvard and Yale in 1916. He played professionally through 1926 and coached through 1938.
Pollard’s life was a series of firsts for African-Americans: playing in the Rose Bowl Game, coaching and quarterbacking in the NFL, running back named to Walter Camp’s All-American team, being elected to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. In 1981 he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Brown University. Pollard died on May 11, 1986 at age 92. He was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and his name lives on through the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which was founded in 2003 to help promote the hiring of minorities in the NFL.
Wheatley played for the University of Michigan from 1991 to 1994, leading the Wolverines to a 38-31 victory over Washington in the 1993 Rose Bowl Game. In that game, he scored three touchdowns and rushed for 235 yards on just 15 carries and was named Player of the Game. Wheatley was named to All-Big Ten teams in both track and football a combined four times. He played 10 seasons in the NFL beginning with the New York Giants in 1995. He joined the Oakland Raiders in 1999, where he played through 2004, including the 2003 Super Bowl. He has coached at the professional, collegiate and high school levels and is now at Michigan, his alma mater, in his first year as a running back coach.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to pay tribute to those have contributed to the history and excitement of the game and who embody the highest level of passion, strength, tradition and honor associated with the Rose Bowl Game. With the Class of 2015, it includes 117 inductees, who are honored with a permanent plaque that includes their name and year of induction at The Court of Champions at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Luncheon is open for public attendance. For more information on tickets, please visit www.tournamentofroses.com.