Hall ‘Hails’ Flutie as 2020 Guest Speaker

By Josh Langenbacher
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Doug Flutie, one of the most iconic players in college football history, will deliver the keynote address on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the Blair County Convention Center.

Flutie will become the first Heisman Trophy winner to speak at the dinner.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Doug Flutie as our featured guest speaker. He’s one of the most inspirational players in football and sports history – a Heisman Trophy winner at Boston College who had a long professional career and an inspiring personal journey,” Blair County Sports Hall of Fame president Neil Rudel said. “We think his visit will be very well received.”

Flutie, who set the NCAA all-time passing yardage record on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy in 1984 at Boston College, finished with 10,579 career passing yards and was the first college player to surpass 10,000 yards.

Despite standing just 5-foot-10, Flutie then spent 22 years playing professionally, and his resume includes being named the NFL’s comeback player of the year and earning a Pro Bowl bid in 1998 after leading Buffalo to the playoffs, and becoming a three-time Grey Cup champion and Grey Cup MVP in the Canadian Football League.

His influence transcends athletics, as the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism has raised more than $20 million since the foundation was founded in 1998. The foundation is named after Flutie’s son, who was diagnosed with autism.

Flutie’s image graced the Wheaties cereal box in 2001.

“The Washington Speakers Bureau places great value in our relationships, especially the one we’ve made over the years with the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame,” James Schiefer Jr. of the Washington Speakers Bureau said. “We value this partnership, and we know the people of Blair County will enjoy and be inspired by Doug Flutie.”

Flutie’s iconic college career includes his 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass that gave BC a 47-45 win in 1984 over the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, which was recently ranked by ESPN as the 14th most memorable moment in the network’s 40 years of existence.

After finishing his career at Boston College, Flutie signed a $7 million, five-year contract with the USFL that made him the highest paid rookie in any sport. He spent just one year with the USFL before the league folded.

Flutie then toiled in the NFL for parts of four seasons before beginning his CFL career in 1990. He returned to the NFL with the Bills in 1998 before ultimately retiring from the game in 2005.

He is currently the lead analyst for Notre Dame football on NBC.

Flutie, who turns 57 next month, will highlight the Hall of Fame’s 19th induction, which will recognize football coach John Hayes, motorsports standout John Lingenfelter, watercraft sports pioneer Eric Malone, basketball player Eddie Miller, swimmer Tawney Nardozza Schmitt and the 1970 Bishop Guilfoyle boys basketball team.

Pittsburgh broadcaster Stan Savran will once again return as the banquet’s emcee.

Advance orders for tickets, priced at $85 ($850 for table of 10) before Jan. 1 and $95 ($950 for table) after that, are currently being accepted. Checks can be made payable to the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 162, Altoona, Pa. 16603.

For more ticket information, call Kathy Millward at 312-0151 or email her at [email protected].

A list of the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame’s past guest speakers:

1987: Joe Paterno

1988: Paul Evans

1989: Terry Bradshaw

1990: Roy Firestone

1992: Bob Knight

1994: Dick Vitale

1996: Joe Theismann

1998: Mary Lou Retton

2000: Rick Majerus

2002: Bobby Bowden

2004: Jim Boeheim

2006: Greg Gumbel

2008: Hines Ward

2010: Chris Fowler

2012: Ben Roethlisberger

2014: James Franklin

2016: Jay Bilas

2018: Cael Sanderson