May 7, 2013
Watch Dayne/Alvarez News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Following the announcement that Ron Dayne was a member of the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2013, Dayne and his former coach, current Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez met with the media.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of their remarks can be found below.
Q. Most of us expected you would get in this year. Did you think about it? Did you have any expectations? What was your reaction when you found out?
RON DAYNE: Well, I didn't really think about it too much. I was excited about making the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. That was the biggest thing for me.
It was just crazy that I was getting calls a couple days before I guess because I was on the ballot. People were like, 'Congratulations, congratulations.' I'm like, 'For what?' Finally came.
I got the football a day before, but I found out this morning, which I was supposed to know a day before. I was just so excited, I didn't even know what to do.
I called my daughter first. She said, 'Congratulations, dad, for making the Hall of Fame.' She had texted me this morning. I was like, 'Okay, thanks.' Then I told her I made it. I sent her a picture of the football. She sent the text back, 'Whooooooo.' So we were excited.
Q. Barry, what does it mean for you to see one of your players go into the Hall of Fame?
COACH ALVAREZ: I'm very proud of Ron's accomplishments. I happened to be on that Selection Committee, saw all the people. If you see the other nominees, you realize there were at least three other Heisman Trophy winners on that ballot.
I know at one point we took a break. A couple of us were standing around the water fountain. Every guy that comes up, our first comment is redundant. Everyone says, 'He was a helluva player.' Well, they're all great players. All of them had to be first team All-Americans or they wouldn't have been nominated.
No one is more deserving than Ron. I said that in that meeting. To have rushed more than anyone in the history of college football. He's minus 800 yards they didn't count for bowl games. He's very deserving. It's an honor for me to have coached him. I'm thrilled for him.
Q. Ron, what is it like to have your name on the list, in the company of all the other players in the Hall of Fame?
RON DAYNE: I don't know. I can't stop smiling. I'm excited and happy, especially for me and my teammates. We worked on it. We worked on it as a team.
All the stuff that I'm getting, the stuff that I got, it was from teamwork. It's just great to be able to come back and still get awards. That's one of the things that my cousin called me this morning, 'Man, you're still getting awards and you ain't even playing football.'
It's just great. I can't stop smiling.
Q. Barry, what are those Hall of Fame discussions like? Pretty lengthy? Do they get heated at all?
COACH ALVAREZ: No, it's not heated. There's no one really politicking for anyone. We have a manual about that thick with information, stats, on every person. We go through one at a time. Gene Corrigan is the chair. Whenever that person comes up, he'll read some of the stats. If anyone is familiar with them, whether they coached him or were in the same league, played against him, the panel consists of some players, former players, administrators, some coaches, so people would just talk about that particular person. Everyone takes notes. Then we go back through and take a ballot.
Ron, by the way, was a unanimous choice.
You go back through, you keep weeding it out. It's not heated at all. It's very professional, very congenial group that all love college football.
Q. Ron, you mentioned all the awards you've won, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Where does this honor rank to you out of all those you've won?
RON DAYNE: I'm not sure yet. I just got this one, so I kind of got to let it soak in and see what people talk about when they come up to me.
COACH ALVAREZ: It's hard for it to sink in exactly what Ron has just achieved, what he's been named to. I don't think it really sinks in until you show up in New York in December and see the magnitude of the celebration, of the induction, and you see the other people who are inducted with you, their credentials. Then the former players. Then I think it sinks in how big a deal this is.
I heard today ... I hate to say this, throw these numbers out, you can maybe help me ... over five million people have played college football. There's like less than 1% that have gone into the Hall of Fame. .02% of all the people that have played college football are in the Hall of Fame. That gives you the magnitude of this honor.
Q. Barry, was there any doubt in your mind that Ron was going to get in? In addition to that, you know the game goes in cycles. Right now the spread is the offense, it appears. If he were a high school senior today, would he be as successful and as valuable over the next four years as he was when he first came here?
COACH ALVAREZ: Yeah, Ron would be smart enough to go someplace where they'd give him the ball, more than not where they're throwing it every snap. There's still some schools that do that. We're one of them.
You look at a lot of the spread teams. Don't be misled by them. Many of them line up in the spread to run the ball. If you're going to defend all the receivers, not leave many in the box, they're going to hand that ball off. Some of your better rushers come from spread teams.
But Ron would be just as valuable today coming out and be just as effective today.
Q. Was there any doubt in your mind that Ron was going to get in?
COACH ALVAREZ: Well, as I said, there were a number of Heisman Trophy winners. One Heisman Trophy winner wasn't elected. I had a very good feeling that he would get in. I thought the person that pleaded his case did a good job. But you still don't know till the ballots come in.
Q. Ron, I know you get this a lot. Nobody has come close to challenging your rushing record since you retired. Do you think anyone ever well?
RON DAYNE: Maybe if they get a coach like Coach Alvy that is going to let you carry the ball, handle as much as you can handle.
Like coach said, a lot of teams are still running the ball. Hopefully a guy has an opportunity, now that they count the bowl games for the guys, can go and pass the ball off or something.
Q. We can look at the numbers and see where Ron ranks in a certain thing. For you, where is Ron's place in college football, his legacy?
COACH ALVAREZ: I think it's pretty simple. As we said, there are a lot of guys that played this game and no one did what he did. He was durable. I told a story in the meeting that there was a stretch when he was a true freshman, an 18 year old freshman, he carried the ball 49 times, 51 times, 47 times. We played Minnesota when he was a freshman, he carried the ball the first 17 plays of the game.
One of the other members, Roy Kramer, the old commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, said, What did he carry, 1.9 a carry? But he was durable. It's not just about yardage, it's about consistency over a four-year period, staying healthy.
So I think he goes down as one of the greats that ever played college football to this day.
Q. Ron, what do you hope your legacy is? What do you hope it is?
RON DAYNE: Like I said, like coach said, I just wanted to be a great running back. Everybody had me down as a fullback. Now I can say I'm one of the great running backs. Coach took the 'fullback' out of my repertoire. He helped me out of that. Like I say, I'm one of the top running backs, and that was because of coach.
Q. Ron, what do you miss the most about football?
RON DAYNE: Being around the guys. Really just being around the guys. Just doing everything together, going through the pain, the sweat. The camaraderie of the sport.
COACH ALVAREZ: I think that's one of the things Ron always did, was praise his linemen, praise his teammates. It was never about him. You guys covered him. You were all here when he played. It was never about him. It was about winning the game and the guys around him, his teammates.
Q. Ron, where do you think your career would be as a football player without Coach Alvarez?
RON DAYNE: I don't like to think about that. Coach really helped me. It was like a blessing. He was like a father to me, he still is. He's been like that since day one. That's not something I even think about.
I'm just happy that coach took the chance, grabbed me, treated me like a son from day one.
Q. Ron, is it hard to find a replacement for the competition when that becomes such a big part of your life? Is your life fulfilled?
RON DAYNE: I like running around, see my kids. It's crazy. They're in all kinds of sports. My daughter is a freshman. She's on the varsity team. My oldest son is in seventh grade. He's playing baseball, football, basketball, everything. Then my youngest boy, he does everything, too. He's running around and playing soccer, basketball, baseball, flag football. It's kind of fun when I get to see them, kind of compete with them.
I told them I'm going to beat them till they're 18. I have to stay in some kind of shape, running around, shooting. I got to fake Jada out now because I think she's almost right there as fast as me. I told her when she can beat me in the 40, she'll get a car. She's almost there. She's working on it (laughter).
Q. Ron, you got a football. Can you explain about getting the football and that was the first time you knew you had made it.
RON DAYNE: Well, this morning I got a text from Mike (Unitan). He texted me, 'Did you get a package?' I was like, 'No.' I didn't get back to him.
Then this morning I got up and saw it again. 'No, I didn't get a package, Mike,' I texted him back. He was like, 'Are you sure? You need to go check, call somebody, go check.'
So my girl went downstairs. She said, 'Yeah, this box came last night. I just threw it to the side.' Then like 15 minutes after I opened it, 10 minutes later Coach Alvy called me. I'm already in shock.
I sent pictures to my mom. It was 10 minutes later that coach called me, 'Did you know you made it?' I just found out 10 minutes ago. The ball said 'Ron Dayne,' had Ron Dayne on it. I have a picture on my phone that I'm keeping, the front of my phone now. It said, 'Ron Dayne, 2013, coming to the Hall of Fame.' I was just super excited. It could have been red, since we're Wisconsin, but it was blue.
Q. Barry, you talked about Ron's impact on college football overall. How about on the Wisconsin program now that you've had some perspective, how would you measure that?
COACH ALVAREZ: I think anyone today that follows college football, when you mention Wisconsin, I think they picture Ron carrying the ball and us running the ball. I think that describes the brand of football that we established here, and that's how everybody pictures it.
Much like if you say Ohio State, you think of Woody Hayes, three yards, a cloud of dust, which hasn't existed for many, many years. But I think that's how people envision Wisconsin football, is Ron Dayne carrying the ball.
Q. Ron, have you decided who your presenter will be? When does that decision get made?
RON DAYNE: I'm not sure. They said you didn't have to talk or anything. I think it's one of the guys out of the group gets up and talks for the whole group.
But I would have picked coach, though.
Q. Any thoughts about the rest of your class that you're going in with?
RON DAYNE: Not really. I know a couple of the guys, I still talk to them when I go back to the Heisman. That will be kind of neat see them. We see each other at different events, things like that.
I didn't know a lot of the other guys, but I knew the two Heisman guys that were there.
Q. Ron, do you think Montee (Ball) will eventually get into the College Football Hall of Fame some years out?
RON DAYNE: Maybe if the touchdown record stands up for a while, without a doubt I think he'll be able to get in there.