DIVISION II FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME TO
DUSTY BONNER, FRANK CIGNETTI AND
FLORENCE, Ala. -- The Division II Football Hall of
Fame will induct former players Dusty Bonner of Valdosta State
University and Keith McKeller of Jacksonville State University,
along with retired coach Frank Cignetti of Indiana University of
Pennsylvania, as its Class of 2013 on Friday, December 20 at the
28th Annual Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II Football Hall of
The banquet is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
(Central) at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence,
PDF of 2013
Established in 1999, the Division II Football Hall of Fame
inducted former Division II players annually from 1999-2009
before inducting its first class of coaches in 2010. This year's
inductees brings the total number of players inducted to 31 and
the total number of coaches to five.
The inductees were
chosen by a selection committee and the official announcement
was made Thursday by Division II Football Hall of Fame Chairman
Bonner, a native of Valdosta, Ga., is a two-time recipient
of the Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football
Player of the Year, taking the honor in 2000 and 2001.
Bonner completed 649-of-913 pass attempts and threw for 8,163
yards during his two-year career. He tossed 107 touchdown passes
with just 22 interceptions, while leading Valdosta State to
playoff appearances during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Bonner
holds the VSU school record for passing yards in a game,
touchdowns thrown for in a game, total offense in a game,
touchdowns responsible for in a game, yards per game in a
season, total offense in a season and touchdowns responsible for
in a season. He is third overall in career passing yards and
second in both career touchdowns and total offense.
threw for 4,126 yards and 55 touchdowns as a junior at VSU,
completing 71.9 percent of his passes. He led the nation in
total offense, touchdown passes, passing yards and pass
completions while leading VSU to a 10-2 record. He was a
three-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Week and a
three-time Division II National Player of the Week. He was
selected first-team All-GSC and GSC Co-Offensive Player of the
Year. He was named All-American by the American Football Coaches
Association, the Associated Press, the College Sports
Information Directors of America and Don Hansen.
senior he threw for 4,037 yards and 52 TDs while leading VSU to
a perfect 11-0 regular-season and No. 1 national ranking. He was
GSC Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season
and accounted for eight touchdowns in a game against Delta
State, throwing for six and rushing for two more. He was named
All-American by Daktronics, D2Football.com and Don Hansen.
Bonner, Johnny Bailey and Danny Woodhead are the only
players to have won the Hill Trophy more than once in the
award's 27-year history.
Bonner was also selected as the
quarterback on the GSC Team of the Decade for 2000-09.
Prior to playing at Valdosta State, Bonner spent two seasons as
a quarterback at the University of Kentucky, serving as the
backup to NFL No. 1 draft pick Tim Couch in 1998 and was then
the Wildcats starting quarterback in 1999. During the 1999
season he led the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency,
total offense and passing yards per game. He transferred to
Valdosta State prior to the 2000 season.
senior season at VSU Bonner signed a free agent contract with
the Atlanta Falcons and later played three seasons with the
Lexington Horsemen of the Indoor Football League. In 2003 he was
the North Atlantic Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player,
throwing for 2,833 yards and 63 touchdowns. In 2004 he led the
Horsemen to the league championship, throwing for 2,695 yards
and a league-record 72 touchdowns. He later joined the front
office of the Horsemen as the General Manager.
currently resides in Lexington, Ky., and is employed as a
medical device sales representative.
Cignetti is the winningest head coach in Indiana University
of Pennsylvania history and led the Hawks to unprecedented
success during his 20-year tenure from 1986 to 2005.
didn’t take long for Cignetti to find success at IUP, leading
the Hawks to conference titles in his first two seasons in 1986
and 1987 and subsequent Division II national title game
appearances in 1990 and 1993. He took IUP to 13 Division II
playoffs appearances, including six trips to the national
semifinals, and he led the Hawks to at least a co-share of the
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division title
14 times. Under his tutelage, IUP ranked in the Top 20 each
season from 1986-2004, achieving undefeated regular seasons in
1991 and 1993. He retired after the 2005 season as the
third-winningest active coach in Division II. His career record
as a Division II coach was 182-50-1 for a 78.3 winning
Cignetti’s teams received the Lambert Cup 10
times as the top Division II team in the East. He was named the
PSAC West Coach of the Year five times and the Kodak College
Division Regional Coach of the Year three times en route to
earning Chevrolet Division II National Coach of the Year honors
in 1991. Cignetti coached 11 First Team All-Americans and 124
First Team All-PSAC performers.
Cignetti served as the
offensive coordinator at West Virginia University under College
Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden from 1970-75 before
taking over as the Mountaineers’ head coach for four seasons
(1976-79). The former NAIA All-American, who played end at IUP
from 1956-59, was an inaugural member of his alma mater’s
athletics hall of fame in 1996, and he served as the school’s
athletics director from 1982-98.
He was inducted into the
College Football Hall of Fame in August.
McKeller, a Fairfield, Ala. native, was a two-sport standout
with the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, but he did it in an
unconventional way. A highly respected tight end in high
school, McKeller signed a basketball scholarship with
Jacksonville State. During his four-year career, the 6-4,
220-pound McKeller earned All-Gulf South Conference honors four
consecutive years. In addition to being named the “Most Valuable
Player” in the 1984-85 GSC Tournament, he helped the Gamecocks
to a 31-1 record that same year, including a 31-game winning
streak, and the NCAA Division II National Championship. He
concluded his basketball career as JSU’s second all-time leading
rebounded with 1,209 and fourth leading scorer with 1,495
In 1986, he walked on with the Gamecock
football team, having not played a down of football since his
high school days. He immediately became the starting tight end
and led Jacksonville State in pass receiving that year, hauling
in 26 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns. For his efforts
he earned first-team All-Gulf South Conference honors.
He impressed the Buffalo Bills enough that they took him in the
ninth round of the 1987 National League draft. After two years
on the inactive roster, McKeller became a solid fixture in the
Bills offense. In addition to hauling in 121 passes for 1,383
yards and 10 touchdowns during his NFL career, he was the
starting tight end in four consecutive Super Bowls (1990, 1991,
1992 and 1993). Injuries forced an early retirement in 1993,
but McKeller still ranks third on the Bills’ all-time list for
receptions by a tight end with 121.
He currently lives
and works in Winston-Salem, N.C.
* * *
The initial class of inductees in 1999 included
running back Johnny Bailey of Texas A&I (now Texas
A&M-Kingsville), quarterback Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State
and the late Walter Payton of Jackson State University.
In 2000, defensive lineman Harry Carson of South Carolina
State University, defensive lineman Pierce Holt of Angelo State
University, and wide receiver John Stallworth of Alabama A&M
In 2001 the third class was comprised of
tight end Brent Jones of Santa Clara University, linebacker Greg
Lloyd of Fort Valley State University and quarterback Ken
O'Brien of the University of California-Davis.
Quarterback Scott Brunner of Delaware, receiver Andre Reed of
Kutztown and linebacker Jessie Tuggle of Valdosta State
comprised the 2002 class.
Former Texas A&M-Kingsville
and Washington Redskins standout Darrell Green was inducted in
2003, and former North Dakota State and Buffalo Bills standout
Phil Hansen was inducted in 2004.
The 2005 class
included Chris Hatcher of Valdosta State, Ronald Moore of
Pittsburg State and Donnie Shell of South Carolina State.
Cody Gross of North Alabama, John Randle of Texas
A&M-Kingsville and Sean Landeta of Towson State were inducted in
The 2007 inductees included Earl Dotson of Texas
A&M-Kingsville, Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama and Mike Turk
of Troy State. Missouri Southern's Rod Smith was the 24th
inductee into the Hall in 2008 and Shannon Sharpe of Savannah
State was the 25th in 2009.
The Class of 2010 included
coaches Ken Sparks of Carson-Newman, Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest
Missouri State and Bobby Wallace of North Alabama and West
In 2011, former Mississippi College standout
Fred McAfee and former Jacksonville (Ala.) State head coach Bill
Burgess were inducted.
Last year John Mobley of Kutztown
State and Tyrone Poole of Fort Valley State were inducted.
The Division II Football Hall of Fame is housed at Braly
Municipal Stadium, which has hosted the Division II Football
Championship Game since 1986.
The 41st annual
Division II Football Championship Game will be played at Braly
Stadium on December 21, 2013, and the Harlon Hill Trophy
presentation to the Division II Player of the Year, and the Hall
of Fame inductions are part of the Shoals area's championship
The Division II Football Hall of
Fame is sponsored by The City of Florence, Florence-Lauderdale
Tourism, OptiNet, Herff Jones and the Marriott Shoals Hotel and
Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight
and are available by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce
(256) 764-4661 or the UNA Sports Information Office at (256)