Mirich Enshrined in College Football Hall of Fame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Former Lumberjack Rex Mirich was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, becoming the first player from Northern Arizona to earn the rare distinction.
Mirich played for Northern Arizona when the school was known as Arizona State College at Flagstaff. In the one-platoon era he played on both offense and defense earning NAIA All-America honors at two different positions in 1962 and 1963.
The first Northern Arizona player to be chosen to the College Football Hall of Fame, he was a four-year letterman for the Lumberjacks. "I was totally surprised," said Mirich when first notified of the distinction. "It is quite an honor. I was never expecting it. I am proud to represent [Northern Arizona]."
Mirich was voted a team captain by his teammates for his senior season. He aided the squad to a 20-15-4 overall mark, and was a key cog in a defense that limited opponents to 109.1 yards per game over a six-game span.
Mirich was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the 16th round of the 1963 NFL Draft and the Oakland Raiders in the 20th round of the 1963 AFL Draft. He played on the defensive line for the Raiders, the Denver Broncos and the Boston Patriots for a total of seven seasons. Mirich earned a bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona in 1966. He was inducted into the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.
Including the 2012 FBS Enshrinement class, only 904 players and 197 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly five million who have played or coached the game over the past 142 years. In other words, less than one percent (.0002) have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois' Red Grange, Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle's Jim Thorpe.
293 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.