2011 Ring Of Fame Inductees To Be Honored At First Night Game

George Connor

WORCESTER, Mass. – The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross has announced that four former football standouts will be honored this fall, as the second class in the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Fame. George Connor (Class of ex1946), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Jon Morris (Class of 1964) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973) will all be honored in a ceremony at the 2011 season-opening game against Massachusetts on Sept. 1, and receive permanent recognition at Fitton Field. The contest when the new members of the Ring of Fame will be honored will also be the first night game in the history of Fitton Field. Tickets for the contest will go on sale on Wednesday, June 29.

Only former Crusader football players who have been elected to the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame are eligible for this honor. The inductees were selected by a committee including representatives from the Holy Cross Athletic Department, the Gridiron Club Leadership Council, the Holy Cross Varsity Club and the Holy Cross Development Office, along with fan voting on www.GoHolyCross.com. With the addition of these four individuals, a total of 10 former players will now be included in the Ring of Fame.

Connor played just two years for the Crusaders, but made a major impact as one of the program's best linemen ever. He earned All-East honors as a freshman in 1942, when he helped lead Holy Cross to a 55-12 upset victory over previously-unbeaten and top-ranked Boston College in the season finale. As a sophomore in 1943, Connor then received first team All-America honors and won the Bulger Lowe Trophy, given to the most outstanding football player in New England. He joined the United States Navy following his sophomore year, and would go on to conclude his collegiate career at the University of Notre Dame after the end of World War II. Connor was a two-time All-American for the Irish, while leading the team to an overall record of 17-0-1 and a pair of national championships. He also won the 1946 Outland Trophy as the top interior lineman in college football. Connor then played eight seasons for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League from 1948-1955, and was named to the All-NFL team at three different positions — offensive tackle, defensive tackle and linebacker. In 1952 and 1953, he was named all-league on both the offensive and defensive teams by different wire services. Connor was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1974, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975.

Kozerski was an outstanding student-athlete for the Crusaders, excelling both on the field as an offensive lineman and in the classroom. During his junior year in 1982, he helped the team to an 8-3 record and a final ranking of No. 11 in the Division I-AA national poll, while earning first team All-ECAC, third team All-New England and honorable mention All-America honors. Then as a senior in 1983, Kozerski led Holy Cross to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs, finishing with an overall record of 9-2-1. Following his senior season, he was named a first team All-American, in addition to being selected first team All-ECAC and first team All-New England. Kozerski was also chosen as a first team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America, and was awarded an NCAA post graduate scholarship. A thrower on the Holy Cross track and field team during the offseason, Kozerski received the Davitt Award as the team's top offensive lineman and the Cooney Award as the senior who performed beyond all expectations with courage, loyalty and dedication. Selected in the ninth round of the 1984 National Football League draft, he went on to a 12-year professional career with the Cincinnati Bengals and played in the 1989 Super Bowl. Kozerski was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1990.

Morris was a three-year starter at center and linebacker for the Crusaders and served as team captain during his senior season. He was a two-time first team All-New England selection, and after his senior season he was selected to play in both the Senior Bowl and the College All-Star game. Following his graduation, Morris was drafted in both the National Football League (Green Bay Packers, second round) and the American Football League (Boston Patriots, fourth round). He went on to have a 15-year professional career, with the Patriots (1964-1974), the Detroit Lions (1975-1977) and the Chicago Bears (1978), playing in 182 games. A first team All-AFL selection by the Associated Press in 1966, Morris played in the AFL Pro Bowl every year from 1964-1969, and the NFL Pro Bowl in 1970. He was named to the All-Time AFL second team, and was also chosen as the starting center on the Patriots' 50th anniversary team. Morris was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1973 and the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011.

Wilson was an outstanding running back for Holy Cross from 1970-1972, twice winning the Davitt Award as the team's top offensive back. At the time of his graduation, Wilson held the all-time school records for most rushing yards in a single game (274 against Rutgers in 1972), a single season (973 in 1971) and a career (2,350). He also holds the record for Holy Cross' longest ever rush from scrimmage, with a 94-yard run against Boston University in 1970, and ranked third in both points scored (146) and touchdowns scored (24) at the end of his career. During his time with the Crusaders, Wilson received the Turco Award as the most valuable player of the 1971 homecoming game against Boston University, and the O'Melia Award as the most valuable player of the 1971 game with Boston College. Selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the eighth round of the 1973 National Football League draft, Wilson went on to play two seasons in the NFL for the Bengals and the New England Patriots. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1978, as the youngest man ever enshrined and the first African American to be honored.

In 2010, the inaugural class in the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Fame included Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Edmund Murphy (Class of 1943), Bill Osmanski (Class of 1939), Vince Promuto (Class of 1960) and John Provost (Class of 1975).