When Ty Detmer got the call last week that he would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, he was asked to come to New York for the public announcement.
Detmer, now the head football coach for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, declined.
“Our guys are in spring ball right now, and I’ve been trying to get them to come to practice,” he said. “I decided it wouldn’t set a good example if I was telling them to go and I missed it.”
So the former BYU great was in Austin on Monday afternoon when the National Football Foundation announced Detmer, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, would be one of the inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame this year.
It was welcome news to Detmer, who soon began receiving calls and texts of congratulations from old teammates and friends.
“It gets you to reflect back on things, fond memories and a lot of good times,” he said. “This is right up there with the other awards. When you get into the Hall of Fame, it shows what people think of your career and how you played.”
Detmer was twice a consensus All-American and to date stands as the Cougar’s only Heisman winner, earning the award during the 1990-1991 season. He finished with 15,031 passing yards and 121 touchdowns in his career — both NCAA records at the time of his graduation. Detmer still holds 10 school passing records.
With Detmer at the helm, BYU was 37-13-2 overall and won three consecutive conference championships. Perhaps Detmer’s most notable moment was a 28-21 win over No. 1 Miami on Sept. 8, 1990.
When pressed, Detmer found it difficult to name any one moment in his career as a high point.
“For me, it was more about consistency,” he said. “I’d rather do something over a long period of time. This kinda shows you weren’t a one-hit wonder and you and your team did a lot of good things.”
Detmer was a ninth-round pick in the 1992 NFL Draft and played in the NFL with Green Bay for 14 seasons. Since his retirement, he’s coached football at St. Andrew’s.
All of his players were born after his Cougars career was over, but he added the team still can experience his highlights — and a few lowlights — through Youtube.
“They get on me about that, and say, ‘Hey coach, we saw you get hammered on NFL’s Hardest Hits,’” he said. “But they can also see the good stuff, too.
The induction ceremony will be in New York on Dec. 4 this year. Detmer is also anticipating BYU will have a ceremony this summer.
The remaining members of the 2012 class will be announced Tuesday. Detmer joins six other BYU members: LaVell Edwards, Gordon Hudson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Gifford Nielsen and Marc Wilson.
Detmer expressed gratitude for the teammates that helped make his career Hall of Fame-worthy.
“I was lucky to be a part of this group,” Detmer said. “As a quarterback, you rely on other guys so much to make plays and protect you. I was just lucky to be a part of it, and hopefully I’ll help represent those guys.”
Ty Detmer by the numbers
• Threw for 15,031 yards and 121 touchdowns
• Completed 958 of his 1530 passes
• Compiled a 37-13-2 record as a starter with three WAC championships
• A two-time all-American and won the Heisman trophy