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Adam Vinatieri (South Dakota State)


Cal Poly is the alma mater of NFL announcer John Madden. In 1970 he was named coach of the year of the AFC. He guided the Oakland Raiders for 10 years, during which the team enjoyed more than 100 wins, several divisional titles and a Super Bowl Championship in 1977.

Seth Burford, Cal Poly's record-breaking quarterback in 2000 and 2001, signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in January 2004.

North Dakota State's Tyrone Braxton appeared in four Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, winning two (1998 & 1999) ... he played in 181 regular season games, starting 130 with 36 career interceptions.

Fred Whittingham, a 1962 Cal Poly graduate in physical education, played in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Rams (1963-64), Philadelphia Eagles (1965-67), New Orleans Saints (1967-68), Dallas Cowboys (1969) and New England Patriots (1970). He earned a berth in the 1968 Pro Bowl. His coaching career included stints with the Oakland Raiders (1995-97) and Los Angeles Rams (1982-91).

Mel Kaufman was a starter for the 1980 NCAA Division II Championship team at Cal Poly. An undrafted free agent, Mel was a starter with three Super Bowl Champions with the Washington Redskins in 1982, 1983 and 1987.

Former North Dakota State star Phil Hansen, who played for the Buffalo Bills 1991-2001, played in three all-star games following the 1990 collegiate season: Blue-Grey game, All-America Classic and East-West Shrine game.

Dirk Johnson (UNC)


Gary Davis played for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons after a stellar career as a running back at Cal Poly. In 1980 he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then moved to the Cleveland Browns, where he finished his football career in 1982.

Ted Tollner, a survivor of the Cal Poly football team's plane crash in 1960 which killed 22 people, coached with the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. He currently is quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

Bobby Beathard, who played football at Cal Poly from 1956-58, has had an illustrious career in professional sports. First he was a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1960s when the team went to the first Super Bowl. Later he helped build the Miami Dolphins as the personnel director into a successful franchise before moving to the Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins in 1978. Most recently he was the General Manager for the San Diego Chargers when they too went to the Super Bowl.

Stan Sheriff is one of the legends of Cal Poly Football. He was an All-American performer and participant in an East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl. He later played professional football for the Rams, Steelers, 49ers and Browns.

Brad Pyatt (UNC)


South Dakota State's Adam Vinatieri (1991-92-93-94) kicked the winning field goal when New England defeated Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It's the second time in three years that Vinatieri has provided the winning points for the Patriots in a Super Bowl game.

Ironically, another former Jackrabbit, Brad Seely (1975-76-77) is the special teams coach for the Patriots. He was an offensive lineman in college and had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys.

Eight players on the 1968 NDSU team signed pro contracts - Mike Berdis (Miami, NFL), Steve Conley (Ottawa, CFL), Jim Ferge (Baltimore, NFL), Del Gehrett (Oakland, NFL), Bruce nelson (Green Bay, NFL), Joe Pomykacz (Dallas, NFL), Orell Schmitz (Arkansas, Continental FL), Ron Wick (Atlanta, NFL).

SDSU's Josh Ranek was a unanimous selection to the 2003 all-East Division all-star team as a running back for Ottawa in the Canadian Football League. It was his second season in the CFL.

Ken O'Brien (UC Davis)


St. Louis Rams right guard Adam Timmerman was the North Central Conference Most Valuable Offensive Lineman in 1994 at SDSU. He has played in four Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls since being drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

Northern Colorado's Brad Pyatt saw action in 8 games as kick/punt returner for the Indianapolis Colts in 2004. Pyatt's 90-yard kick return in the 4th quarter against Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football, helped the Colts score an amazing 38-35 come-from-behind victory. Pyatt averaged 28.6 yards per kick return on 19 returns in his rookie season.

Two North Dakota State players went on to have 14-year careers in pro football, Melvin (Fritz) Hanson, who played 1935-48 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL, and Steve Nelson, who played for the New England Patriots 1974-87.Hanson is in the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.

Seventy-seven former North Dakota State players have signed pro football contracts.

Northern Colorado's Dirk Johnson averaged 40.6 yards per punt for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004. Johnson landed 27 punts inside the 20-yard line in helping lead the Eagles to the NFC Championship game.

Rolf Benirschke (UC Davis)


Northern Colorado's Aaron Smith recently completed his fifth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a starting defensive lineman. Smith has tallied 17 1/2 career sacks for the Steelers.

Northern Colorado's Anthony Dunn completed his first season with the Tennessee Titans. Dunn signed as a free agent in 2004 and was activated for one game, where he was credited with one tackle. Dunn recently signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans.

The only former North Central Conference player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame came from SDSU, offensive center Jim Langer, who played on three Super Bowl teams in Miami.

The only North Central Conference ever selected on the first round of the NFL draft was SDSU lineman Lynn Boden, picked in the first round by Detroit.

PLAYERS WHO PLAYED PRO FOOTBALL

UC DAVIS
  • Aaron Bennetts - Scotland, NFL Europe
  • Bob Biggs - Winnipeg, CFL; Portland, World Football League
  • Melvin Byrd - British Columbia, CFL
  • Matt Devine - World League of American Football
  • Charley Enos - Winnipeg, CFL
  • Bob Fenton - Arena Football League
  • Mark Grieb - Anaheim & San Jose, Arena League; Scotland, NFL Europe; Las Vegas, XFL
  • Khari Jones - British Columbia, Winnipeg, CFL; Albany, Arena League; Scotland, NFL Europe
  • Chris Mandeville - Green Bay & Washington, NFL; Oakland, USFL
  • Michael Oliva - New York Jets, NFL
  • John Shoemaker - Arizona, NFL
  • Chris Smith - New York Jets, NFL
  • Steve Thompson - Sacramento, World League of American Football
  • Forest Vance, OT - Green Bay (2004)
  • J.T. O'Sullivan - New Orleans Saints (2002, 2003)
  • Onome Ojo - New Orleans Saints (2001)
  • Troy Larkin, OT -St. Louis (2000)
  • Kevin Daft - Tennessee Titans (1999)
  • Jeff Bridewell - Cardinals (1991)
  • Mike Wise - DL, Los Angeles Raiders (1986-90), Cleveland (1991)
  • Scott Barry - QB, San Francisco 49ers (1985)
  • Dan Gazzaniga, OT - Los Angeles Raider (1985)
  • Bo Eason - DB, Houston (1984-87)
  • Ken O'Brien - QB, New York Jets (1983-92), Philadelphia (1993)
  • Jeff Allen - DB, Miami (1980), San Diego (1982)
  • Mike Moroski - Atlanta (1979-84), Houston (1985), San Francisco (1986)
  • Casey Merrill - DE, Green Bay (1979-83), N.Y. Giants (1984-85), New Orleans (1986)
  • Rich Martini - WR, Oakland (1979-80), New Orleans (1981)
  • Rolf Benirschke - K, San Diego (1977-86)
  • Anthony Terry - WR, Philadelphia Eagles (1976)
  • Tom Williams - DE, San Diego (1970-71)
  • Howard Gravelle - TE, San Diego (1970)
  • Jerry DeLoach - DE, Oakland Raiders (1970)


    CAL POLY
  • Stan Sheriff - C, L.A. Rams (1954)
  • Alex Bravo - RB, L.A. Rams
  • Bob Lawson - FB, Cleveland Browns (1968)
  • Cecil Turner - WR, Chicago (1969)
  • Gary Kerr - WR, Chicago
  • Manuel Murrell - DB, Detroit (1970)
  • Don Milan - QB, Oakland (1971)
  • Don Sverchek - LB, San Francisco
  • Rick Wegis - DB, Cincinnati (1972)
  • Mike Amos - WR, Dallas (1974)
  • John Loane - K, Oakland (1976)
  • Gary Davis - RB, Miami
  • Ray Hall - WR, Green Bay
  • John Henson - RB, Green Bay
  • Pat Manus - DB, L.A. Rams
  • Walter Mead - WR, San Francisco (1977)
  • Bill McCadden - DB, Dallas
  • Dana Nafziger - TE, Tampa Bay (1978)
  • Jimmy Childs - WR, St. Louis
  • Andre Keys - WR, Pittsburgh (1979)
  • Ed McDonald - DL, Denver
  • Mike Raymo - LB, Oakland
  • Steve Spencer - DL, N.Y. Giants (1980)
  • Mike Bailey - OL, Denver
  • Dwight Crump - WR, Denver
  • Paul Dickens - RB, Tampa Bay (1981)
  • Mike Bush - WR, New England
  • Mike Daum - OL, Miami
  • Louis Jackson - RB, N.Y. Giants
  • Chris Jones - DB, Dallas
  • Mel Kaufman - LB, Washington
  • Robbie Martin - WR, Pittsburgh
  • LeCharls McDaniel - DB, Washington
  • Jeff S. Smith - LB, Washington (1982)
  • Charles Daum - OL, Dallas
  • Carl Gillberg - C, L.A. Rams
  • Rick Jones - TE, Washington
  • Martin Ponek - OL, L.A. Rams (1983)
  • Steve Booker - LB, Washington
  • Tom Gilmartin - DL, Buffalo
  • Sven Hasselberg - LB, Houston
  • Jerry Schmidt - DL, Dallas (1984)
  • Brian Gutierrez - RB, Seattle
  • Paul Sverchek - DL, Minnesota
  • Steve Wahl - OL, L.A. Raiders (1985)
  • Steve Gibson - DL, L.A. Rams
  • Damone Johnson - TE, L.A. Rams
  • Brian Moore - C, San Francisco
  • Gary Swanson - LB, L.A. Rams (1986)
  • Sal Cesario - OL, NY Jets
  • John Cummins - DE, San Francisco
  • Greg Thompson - DB, Denver
  • Chris Dunn - DL, Atlanta (1991)
  • Pat Moore - DL, Chicago (1993)
  • Chris Thomas - WR, San Diego (1998)
  • Kamil Loud - WR, Buffalo (2001)
  • Antonio Warren - RB, NY Giants (2002)
  • Seth Burford - QB, San Diego
  • Adam Herzing - WR, Indianapolis
  • Dustin Kroeker - OL, Seattle
  • James Tuthill - PK, Jacksonville
  • Vaughn Jarrett - Chicago Rush (AFL- 2003)
  • David Richardson - DB, Jacksonville Jaguars (2004)
  • Navid Niakan - PK, Central Valley (AFL-2004)
  • Jordan Beck - LB, Atlanta Falcons (2005)
  • Darrell Jones - WR/RS, Montreal Alouettes (CFL-2005)
  • Chris Gocong - DE, Philadelphia Eagles (2006)

    (Years listed indicate the first year played in the NFL, year drafted or year signed a free agent contract)

    NORTHERN COLORADO
  • Tom Beck - Chicago Bears
  • Irv Brown - NBA Official
  • Sam Brunelli - Denver Broncos
  • Ryan Burkholder - Central Austrian Football League
  • Gerry Dattilio - Montreal Alouettes (CFL)
  • Joe Drew - Calgary Stampeders (CFL)
  • Ben Dreith - NFL Official
  • Mike Dunafon - Denver Broncos
  • Anthony Dunn - Tennessee Titans
  • Gary Eccker - Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)
  • Steve Gaunty - Kansas City Chiefs
  • Don Geist - Dallas Cowboys
  • Dave Gibson - New York Giants
  • Andy Haase - New York Giants
  • Pat Haggerty - NFL Official
  • Jamie Heiner - Amsterdam Admirals (NFL Europe)
  • Kevin Jelden - Dallas Cowboys
  • Dirk Johnson - Philadelphia Eagles
  • Ron Keiter - Cleveland Browns
  • Bill Kenney - Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jeff Knapple - Buffalo Bills
  • Bob Knapton - Seattle Seahawks
  • Greg Kucera - Cleveland Browns
  • Steve Mason - New Orleans Saints
  • Mark McDaniel - Buffalo Bills
  • Corte McGuffey - New York/New Jersey Hitmen (XFL)
  • Martin McGuffey - Chicago Bears
  • Dillan Micus - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Mike Mitchell - Denver Broncos
  • Deacon Nauslar - Calgary Stampeders (CFL)
  • Jack O'Brien - Denver Broncos
  • Brad Pyatt - Indianapolis Colts
  • Tony Ramirez - Detroit Lions/Chicago Enforcers (XFL)
  • Ian Roberts - Montreal Allouettes (CFL)
  • Jed Roberts - Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)
  • John Roberts - Denver Broncos
  • Rod Rudel - Dallas Cowboys
  • Larry Sage - Seattle Seahawks
  • Aaron Smith - Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Chuck Snowden - Denver Broncos
  • Loren Snyder - Dallas Cowboys
  • David Stalls - Dallas Cowboysv
  • Bob Tatum - Philadelphia Bell (WFL)
  • Cedric Tillman - Arizona Rattlers (AFL)
  • Mike Tomasini - Atlanta Falcon
  • Greg Tucker - New England Patriots
  • Darrel Vaughan - Houston Oilers
  • Frank Wainright - Baltimore Ravens
  • Mike Walker - Atlanta Falcons
  • Tom Walker - Jacksonville Gators (WFL)
  • Barry West - Philadelphia Eagles
  • Gary Widhelm - Calgary Stampeders
  • Mike Williams - New Orleans Saints
  • Tashe Williams - New Orleans Saints
  • Al Winslow - Oakland Raiders
  • Ron Wyatt - Denver Broncos
  • Scott Zimmerman - Carolina Panthers

    (Team listed is last active team for that player)

    NORTH DAKOTA STATE
  • Lyle Sturgeon - Green Bay Packers (1937-38)
  • W.P. Bud Marquardt - Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1935-41)
  • Herb Peschel - Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1935-42)
  • Ernie Wheeler - Chicago Cardinals & Pittsburgh Steelers (1939-42)
  • Walt Odegaard - British Columbia Lions (1967-68)
  • Dick Hanson - DL, New York Giants (1971-72)
  • Pat McBride - Ottawa Rough Riders (1979)
  • Kevin Donnalley - New England Patriots, Philadelphia Stars, Washington Federals (1981-84)
  • Doug Lloyd - Los Angeles Raiders, Houston Oilers, Green Bay Packers (1989-91)
  • Flint Fleming - Calgary Stampeders, British Columbia Lions (1989-90)
  • Stacy Robinson - New York Giants (1985-90)
  • Jeff Bentrim - Saskatchewan Roughriders (1987-90)
  • Mike McTague - Calgary Stampeders, Montreal Concordes,
  • Sasketchewan Roughriders (1979-87)
  • Tyrone Braxton - Denver Broncos/Miami Dolphins (1987-99)
  • Joe Toth, Saskatchewan Roughriders (1995-96)
  • Steve Nelson - New England Patriots (1974-87)
  • Melvin "Fritz" Hanson - Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Calgary Stampeders (1935-48)
  • Phil Hansen - Buffalo Bills (1991-2001)
  • Lamar Gordon - St. Louis Rams (2000-current)


    SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
  • Weldon Erickson - Minneapolis (1922)
  • John Beasey - Green Bay (1924)
  • Weert Englemann - Green Bay (1930-33)
  • Ray Jenison - Green Bay (1931)
  • Israel Ginsberg - Boston (1935)
  • Alfred Arndt - Pittsburgh, Boston (1935)
  • Paul "Whitey" Miller - Green Bay (1936-38)
  • Mark Barber - Cleveland (1937)
  • Robert Pylman - Philadelphia (1938-39)
  • Doug Eggers - Baltimore (1954-57), Chicago Cardinals (1958)
  • Jerry Welch - Calgary (CFL) (1955-56)
  • Dominic Klawitter - Chicago Bears (1956)
  • Pete Retzlaff - Detroit (1956), Philadelphia (1956-66)
  • Wayne Rasmussen - Detroit (1964-74)
  • Ron Meyer - Pittsburgh (1966)
  • Darwin Gonnerman - Ottawa (CFL) (1969-70)
  • Jim Langer - Miami (1970-79), Minnesota (1980-81)
  • Tim Roth - Saskatchewan (CFL) (1971-77)
  • Phil Engle - Birmingham (WFL) (1973)
  • Lynn Boden - Detroit (1975-78), Chicago (1979)
  • Bill Matthews - New England (1978-81), New York Giants (1982-83), Denver Gold (1984)
  • Chuck Loewen - San Diego (1980-84)
  • Bruce Klostermann - Denver (1986-89), Los Angeles Raiders (1990-91)
  • Doug Miller - San Diego (1993)
  • Dean Herrboldt - British Columbia (CFL) (1995-96)
  • Adam Timmerman - Green Bay (1995-98), St. Louis (1999-present)
  • Adam Vinatieri - Amsterdam (WFL) (1996), New England (1996-present)
  • Steve Heiden - San Diego (1999), Cleveland (2002-present)
  • Josh Ranek - Dallas Cowboys (2001), Ottawa Renegades (2001-present)


    SOUTHERN UTAH
  • Lenny Walterschied - Safety, Chicago Bears

    PLAYERS DRAFTED

    UC DAVIS
    2002 - J.T. O'Sullivan, QB (6th round - New Orleans)
    2001 - Onome Ojo, WR (5th round - New Orleans)
    1999 - Kevin Daft, QB (5th round - Tennessee)
    1991 - Jeff Bridewell, QB (12th round - Cardinals)
    1986 - Mike Wise, DL (2nd round - L.A. Raiders)
    1985 - Scott Barry, QB (6th round - San Francisco)
    1984 - Bo Eason, DB (2nd round - Houston Oilers)
    1983 - Ken O'Brien, QB (1st round - N.Y. Jets)
    1980 - Jeff Allen, DB (12th round - Miami)
    1979 - Mike Moroski, QB (6th round - Atlanta)
    1979 - Casey Merrill, DE (5th round - N.Y. Giants)
    1977 - Rich Martini, WR (7th round - Oakland Raiders)
    1977 - Rolf Benirschke, K (16th round - Raiders)
    1976 - Anthony Terry, WR (17th round - Philadelphia)
    1970 - Tom Williams, DE (2nd round - San Diego)
    1970 - Howard Gravelle, TE (12th round - San Diego)
    1970 - Jerry DeLoach, DE (12th round - Raiders)


    CAL POLY
    2006 - Chris Gocong, DE (3rd round Philadelphia)
    2005 - Jordan Beck, LB (3rd round Atlanta)
    2002 - Seth Burford, QB (7th round - San Diego)
    2001 - Kamil Loud, WR (7th round - Buffalo)
    1986 - Sal Cesario, OL (12th round - N.Y. Jets)
    1986 - Gary Swanson, LB (9th round - L.A. Rams)
    1985 - Damone Johnson, TE (6th round - L.A. Rams)
    1984 - Paul Sverchek, DL (8th round - Minnesota)
    1981 - Charles Daum, OL (7th round - Dallas)
    1981 - Robbie Martin, WR (4th round - Pittsburgh)
    1981 - Louis Jackson, RB (7th round - N.Y. Giants)
    1981 - Mike Daum, OL (6th round - Miami)
    1978 - Jimmy Childs, WR (4th round - St. Louis)
    1976 - John Henson, RB (14th round - Green Bay)
    1976 - Ray Hall, WR (17th round - Green Bay)
    1976 - Gary Davis, RB (6th round - Miami)
    1972 - Rick Wegis, DB (12th round - Cincinnati)
    1968 - Cecil Turner, WR (5th round - Chicago)


    NORTH DAKOTA STATE
    2002 - Lamar Gordon, (3rd round - St. Louis)
    2002 - Pete Campion (7th round - Carolina)
    1991 - Phil Hansen (2nd round - Buffalo)
    1989 - Doug Lloyd (6th round - Oakland)
    1987 - Chad Stark (12th round - NY Giants)
    1987 - Tyrone Braxton (12th round - Denver)
    1985 - Stacy Robinson (2nd round - NY Giants)
    1984 - Dave Piepkorn (5th round - Cleveland)
    1982 - Kevin Donnalley (7th round - St. Louis)
    1979 - Gordy Sprattler (9th round - NY Jets)
    1977 - Chuck Rodgers (11th round - Tampa Bay)
    1975 - Bruce Reimer (9th round - Pittsburgh)
    1975 - Jerry Dahl (12th round - San Diego)
    1974 - Steve Nelson (2nd round - New England)
    1974 - Mike Puestow (10th round - Cleveland)
    1974 - Sanford Quale (16th round - Buffalo)
    1973 - Mike Evenson (15th round - New Orleans)
    1973 - Bob Erickson (17th round - San Francisco)
    1972 - Ralph Wirtz (8th round - Chicago)
    1970 - Tim Mjos (8th round - Green Bay)
    1970 - Chuck Wald (14th - Atlanta)


    NORTHERN COLORADO
    1999 - Aaron Smith (4th round - Pittsburgh Steelers)
    1997 - Tony Ramirez (6th round - Detroit Lions)
    1990 - Frank Wainright (8th round - New Orleans Saints)
    1979 - Bill Kenney (12th round - Miami Dolphins)
    1978 - David Stalls (7th round - Dallas Cowboys)
    1968 - Mike Tomasini (10th round - Atlanta Falcons)


    SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
    1999 - Steve Heiden, TE (3rd round - San Diego)
    1995 - Adam Timmerman, OT (7th round - Green Bay)
    1993 - Doug Miller, LB (7th round - San Diego)
    1986 - Bruce Klostermann, LB (8th round - Denver)
    1980 - Chuck Loewen, OT (7th round - San Diego)
    1978 - Bill Matthews, LB (5th round - New England)
    1977 - Todd Simonsen, T (6th round - Houston)
    1976 - Bob Gissler, DE (14th round - Miami)
    1975 - Lynn Boden, T (1st round - Detroit)
    1975 - Jerry Lawrence, T (8th round - Houston)
    1973 - Phil Engle, T (11th round - Green Bay)
    1969 - Tim Roth, DE (16th round - Oakland)
    1966 - Ron Meyer, QB (Pittsburgh)
    1966 - Ed Maras, End (Green Bay)
    1964 - Wayne Rasmussen, Back (Detroit)
    1962 - Joe Thorne, Back (Green Bay)
    1962 - Ron Frank, T (San Francisco)
    1959 - LeRoy Bergan, T (Baltimore)
    1958 - Wayne Haensel, T (New York Giants)
    1956 - Dominic Klawitter, C (Chicago Bears)
    1955 - Jerry Welch, Back (Baltimore)
    1953 - Pete Retzlaff, Back (Detroit)
    1951 - Harry Gibbons, Back (Chicago)
    1951 - Dick Peot, T (Detroit)
    1939 - Bob Riddell, End (Philadelphia)