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Pac-12 Networks unveils Pac-12 Football All-Century Team

Dec 2, 2015

Blue ribbon panel of 119 players, coaches and media name the 50 greatest to grace the gridiron in the Conference of Champions’ 100-year history

John Elway, Ronnie Lott named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Century, John McKay honored as Coach of the Century

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (December 2, 2015) – During the past 100 years, some of the greatest names to ever play football cultivated their talents at one of the Conference’s 12 esteemed universities, and Tuesday evening, Pac-12 Networks revealed the Pac-12 All-Century Football Team in a 60-minute Pac-12 All-Century: Football special, hosted by Ted Robinson.

When all the ballots were tallied, 50 players and one coach representing eight Pac-12 schools were named to the team. Additionally, Stanford QB John Elway was named Offensive Player of the Century, USC S Ronnie Lott was named Defensive Player of the Century and legendary Trojan head coach John McKay was chosen as Coach of the Century.

A contingent of the All-Century Team members will be honored in a special on-field presentation prior to the Pac-12 Football Championship Game between Stanford and USC on Saturday, December 5 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Among those in attendance include: Elway, Lott and J.K. McKay, son of John McKay, plus Heisman Trophy winners Marcus Allen and Jim Plunkett.

An esteemed voting panel made up of 119 former players, coaches and media had the arduous task of selecting 24 offensive players (five QBs, five RBs, five WRs, two TEs, seven OLs), 23 defensive players (five DEs, five DTs, five LBs, four CBs, 4 Safeties), three special teamers (one K, one P, one R) and one coach to build out their team. The accomplishments and accolades of each person during their collegiate career was the primary factor taken into account by the voting panel. In addition, the panel could only take into consideration individuals whose collegiate careers at a school occurred while the institution was a member of the Conference. Arizona and Arizona State joined in 1978, while Colorado and Utah joined in 2011.

USC leads the way with representation on the list with a total 25 Men of Troy being selected, including Coach of the Year honoree John McKay. The Trojans swept the running back position as Allen, OJ Simpson, Charles White, Reggie Bush and Mike Garrett all hailing from ‘Tailback U.’ Additionally, Bush was the only player to make the cut at two positions – in addition to being the 4th highest vote getter as a running back, he was the top returner selected.

Representation from other teams breaks down as follows: Arizona (5), Stanford (4), UCLA (4), Arizona State (3), California (3), Oregon (3), Washington (2), Washington State (1). 

The All-Century team members have complied numerous accolades across their collegiate careers including:

  • 54 Consensus All-Americans
  • 7 Heisman Trophy winners
  • 6 Walter Camp winners
  • 6 Maxwell Awards
  • 4 Outland Trophies
  • 3 Lombardi Award winners
  • 3 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm winners
  • 2 AP Player of the Year honorees
  • 2 Nagurski Trophies
  • 1 Biletnikoff Award
  • 1 Bednarik Trophy
  • 1 Ray Guy Award

The iconic roster of 50 covers a significant piece of the Pac-12’s storied 100 years, from Oregon cornerback Mel Renfro (1961-63) standing as the oldest player, to current Utah senior punter Tom Hackett (2012-15) being the youngest honoree.

As the Offensive Player the Century selection, Elway was a two-time first team All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year selection who rewrote the Stanford and Pac-10 career record books. He threw a record 77 career touchdown passes and compiled the second-most career passing yards (9,349), pass completions (774) and pass attempts (1246) at Stanford. As a consensus All-American and Player of the Year in 1982, Elway finished the season as runner-up in the Heisman Trophy race to Herschel Walker. As the 1980 Pac-10 Player of the Year, he set a Stanford record with 27 touchdowns passes, a mark broken by fellow All-Century teammate Andrew Luck in 2011. Elway was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Known for his sheer toughness on the field, Defensive Player of the Century Ronnie Lott was a 1980 consensus All-American and two-time all-conference selection, leading the nation with eight interceptions in his final season at USC. Upon first becoming a starter in his sophomore season, he won a national title with USC in 1978. The following year, the Trojans were undefeated and ranked second nationally, winning 28 consecutive games. Lott helped the Trojans win three postseason bowls, including two Rose Bowls. As a senior, Lott was elected as team captain and won his second All-Pac-8 honors while becoming a unanimous All-American selection. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

As the 1962 and 1972 AFCA National Coach of the Year, Coach of the Century John McKay's USC teams played in eight Rose Bowls (5-3 record) and won four national titles (1962, 1967 and 1972, 1974). His Rose Bowl runs included four in a row from 1967 to 1970 and three in a row from 1973 to 1975. With an overall record of 127-40-8 with a .749 winning percentage, McKay broke the conference mark for conference victories (70) held by fellow USC coach Howard Jones (65) and held onto the top spot until Don James surpassed him in the 1980s. At the helm at USC, McKay coached 16 consensus All-Americans and led Troy to undefeated seasons in 1962 (11-0), 1969 (10-0-1) and 1972 (12-0-0).

The Pac-12 All-Century Football Team caps off All-Century team reveals for the Conference fall sports. All-Century teams for sports including: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, women’s gymnastics, men’s volleyball and wrestling are still to come as the Centennial Celebration continues through the 2015-16 season. 

Below is a complete list of the Pac-12 All-Century Team, as well as quotes from select All-Century Team members.

Pac-12 All-Century Football Team


John Elway, Stanford

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Jim Plunkett, Stanford

Andrew Luck, Stanford

Matt Leinart, USC

Running Backs

Marcus Allen, USC

OJ Simpson, USC

Charles White, USC

Reggie Bush, USC

Mike Garrett, USC

Wide Receivers

Keyshawn Johnson, USC

Lynn Swann, USC

Marqise Lee, USC

JJ Stokes, UCLA

Ken Margerum, Stanford

Tight Ends

Tony Gonzalez, California

Charles Young, USC

Offensive Line

Jonathan Ogden, UCLA

Ron Yary, USC

Tony Boselli,USC

Anthony Munoz, USC

Lincoln Kennedy, Washington

Brad Budde, USC

Randall McDaniel, Arizona State

Defensive Ends

Tedy Bruschi, Arizona

Terrell Suggs, Arizona State

Willie McGinest, USC

Andre Carter, California

Jim Jeffcoat, Arizona State

Defensive Tackles

Steve Emtman, Washington

Haloti Ngata, Oregon

Rob Waldrop, Arizona

Leonard Williams, USC

Ed White, California


Junior Seau, USC

Jerry Robinson, UCLA

Ricky Hunley, Arizona

Richard Wood, USC

Chris Claiborne, USC


Joey Browner, USC

Mel Renfro, Oregon

Chris McAlister, Arizona

Antoine Cason, Arizona


Ronnie Lott, USC

Kenny Easley, UCLA

Troy Polamalu, USC

Mark Carrier, USC


Jason Hanson, Washington State


Tom Hackett, Utah


Reggie Bush, USC


John McKay, USC

*Bold Italic notes Offensive, Defensive and Coach of the Century selections


Quotes from Pac-12 All-Century Team members

Rob Waldrop – Arizona

“I was incredibly honored to learn of being elected to the Pac-12’s All Century Team. Over the years, there have been some great defensive lineman who competed in the conference, being recognized as one of them — so many years after playing — is quite a distinction. The period that I played at Arizona under Coach Tomey was a special time. We had a team that was very close and took care of one another. And our defense! That was a special group of players. I am very blessed to have been apart of that group — the Desert Swarm — and will always cherish the memories of what it felt like when we would completely derail and demolish a competitors offense … None of the recognition I have ever received would have been possible without such a talented group of defensive teammates — I share this honor with them, Bear Down.”

Jim Jeffcoat – Arizona State University

“I’m very grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to earn such a prestigious honor, and that my peers and all those who voted thought that much about me to put me on the centennial team.  It’s truly a great as well as humbling honor.”

Randall McDaniel – Arizona State University

“For 100 years, the schools of the Pac-10/12 have given student-athletes the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field. Thanks to a football scholarship to Arizona State University, I earned my college diploma and built the foundation for a 14-year NFL career. I’m honored to be included in this group of talented men and I’m proud we can represent all the great Pac-10/12 athletes who came before us and those who will certainly follow.”

Andre Carter – University of California, Berkeley

“First, I thank God and my family – my wife, son and daughter – for being able to share this experience with me. I would like to thank my mom and dad for providing me with positive guidance during my years attending Cal. I always focused on doing my job and being the best player I could be year after year. I had great coaches at Cal – Tom Holmoe our head coach, Lyle Setencich our defensive coordinator and Bill Dutton my defensive line coach. They helped me strive to become the best player and person I could be. I was also fortunate to play with some great players. The ‘Hit Squad’ as we were known then, always pushed me to be great. To receive such a prestigious award solidifies my legacy that I left on and off the field, nothing can ever take that away from me.”

Ed White – University of California, Berkeley

“I am absolutely blown away. I wondered if there were enough people who actually remembered when I played in college. Offensive and defensive linemen receive much more praise and recognition now than ever before, which is great. When I played the only time you were recognized was when you sacked the quarterback or were called for a penalty. I am just so honored.”

Marcus Mariota – Oregon

“It is definitely an honor to even be recognized with those great players. It’s truly a privilege and I couldn’t have received this without my teammates. I’m thankful for the Oregon community for supporting me throughout my entire career. I’m truly grateful for that.”

John Elway – Stanford

“With so many deserving players in the 100-year history of the Pac-12, I am extremely humbled to receive this tremendous honor. It’s an award that I share with all of my Stanford teammates and coaches. It’s also special to accept this honor alongside Ronnie Lott, who’s a friend and an amazing competitor. He’s truly deserving and I congratulate him.”

Kenny Easley – UCLA

“It's a terrific honor to be named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team. When I looked over the original list I was so impressed by all of the great players who came from the Pac-8, Pac-10 and Pac-12. It is a great honor just to be included with all of those guys. I am very thankful for Terry Donahue for giving me the opportunity to play right away. If it wasn't for that, being a starter my freshman year, it could have been a different story. Terry believed in me and I am thankful for that opportunity.”

Marcus Allen – USC

“When you look at the entire landscape some of the most incredible players to ever play the game have come out of this Conference. To be recognized as one of the best over the 100-year history is truly an honor.”

Mark Carrier – USC
“My first reaction is simply that I'm humbled. I don't know exactly how this came about, but obviously there have been so many great players in the Pac-12. It's really a thrill that people considered me as someone worthy of putting in this group. It is a very happy day for me and my family.”

Mike Garrett – USC

“Beating teams like Oklahoma, Ohio State and Notre Dame was great. The Midwest and South thought they dominated college football. We showed the West could beat the best.”

Matt Leinart – USC

"Being a part of this team is such a tremendous honor. Just seeing my name next to the guys on this list is something I never would have thought would happen. Looking back on my time at USC, I couldn’t have accomplished what I did without the teammates and coaches that I had around me, so they deserve just as much credit for our success. I'm truly humbled to be included in such an incredible class of players."

Ronnie Lott – USC

“To be in the arena with these men of courage and fight, it is a privilege and honor! Looking at the history and knowing all the players who had played defense, I'm humble being selected for this honor and I know so many that are more deserving than me.”

Lynn SwannUSC

“It’s a great honor that I personally share with my teammates. Football is the consummate team sport and I couldn’t have accomplished anything without them. I also benefitted from great coaching from Willie Brown and John McKay. We enjoyed a lot of success and had a lot of fun at USC. It was a great time but we put in a lot of hard work and effort to succeed as a team. I am thankful for the honor and am thrilled to be in the company of so many great players.”

Richard WoodUSC

“It really is a great honor to be mentioned among so many great football players who have played in the Pac-12 and in college football. I need to thank my teammates and my coaches. For me to be able to receive any recognition and accolades is because of them. To be recognized and honored is truly a blessing.”

Ron Yary – USC

It’s truly a great honor, but I don’t feel like I deserve it. I keep thinking that those who voted for me made a mistake. There has been exemplary offensive line play by so many guys in this Conference over the last 100 years. Players who absolutely controlled the line of scrimmage all of the time, so it’s a deep honor; a wonderful tribute to my life that I just hope inspires my kids.

Tom Hackett – Utah

“I’m very honored and privileged to be named within this team. This will be something I will look back on for the rest of my existence. I’m not entirely sure to whom I owe for this honor, to be included with such legends in the game. Thank you Pac-12!” 

Lincoln Kennedy – Washington

“I know Ron Mix, Ron Yary, Anthony Munoz and other great linemen that played in this Conference. I've always admired their play and passion for the game. So, when I started playing offensive line, I tried to be like them. I never, ever expected to be as revered as they were for playing in this Conference. To be on a team with all of these great players, to be thought of as one of the best in the last century, is a tremendous honor. The Pac-12 has a long and illustrious history with its fair share of great players. I'm proud to be a part of that conversation.”

Jason HansonWashington State

“It’s an incredible honor to be part of any All-Conference team, but when that all-conference team is the All-Century team – it’s just incredible when you think of the history of the Pac-10 and Pac-12.”