September 12, 2012


        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 Fame Banquet.
     The banquet is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (Central) at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Ala.

PDF of 2013 Release

    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 Jeff Hodges.

    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.
    He 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.
    As a 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, 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.
    Following his 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.
    He 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.
    It 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 percentage.
    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 points.  
    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 were inducted.
    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 2006.
    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 Alabama.
    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 week activities.
        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 Spa.
    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) 765-4595.


© Copyright 2005; All Rights Reserved
Division II Football Hall of Fame
Florence, AL 35630 U.S.A.

Email Us