College Football Hall of Fame to Enshrine Former Amherst Player

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AMHERST, MA – Former Amherst College football standout William Henry Lewis will be honored in the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2010 Enshrinement Festival, which will be held July 16-17 in South Bend, Ind. Lewis was a member of the Class of 1892 and became the first African-American to earn All-America First Team honors in football.

The Enshrinement Festival is the College Football Hall of Fame's signature event. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame players must have been named a First Team All-America honoree by a major/national selector, played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior, and played within the past 50 years. The candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed. Individuals who are still playing football at the professional level are not eligible.

Although Lewis played more than 50 years ago, the Veterans Committee was allowed to make a recommendation to Honors Court for an exception that allowed for his induction. Of the 4.72 million individuals who have played college football, only 866 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to revolutionizing the running back position with his quickness and mobility, Lewis was an advocate for civil rights and equal opportunity. He coached football at Harvard for 12 years, wrote one of the first books on football, and served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General under William Howard Taft.

To learn more about Lewis’s influential and inspiring life, read two articles that were published in the Winter 2007 issue of Amherst’s alumni magazine, Blazing the Trail and A Slice of History. Lewis is also profiled on the College Football Hall of Fame website.