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October 15, 2012

'87 National Championship Football Team inducted into ULM Hall of Fame

Twenty-five years ago, the football team at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana at Monroe) won the National Collegiate Championship—a triumph still palpable today.

On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 11, the team reunited with their coaching staff in Fant-Ewing Coliseum, where they were inducted into ULM’s Hall of Fame.

They were also honored at halftime of the ULM/Florida Atlantic game Saturday night.

The 1987 team even gave high-fives to the Warhawks as players first entered the field.

Dubbed the "Team of Destiny," the 1987 football players, under direction of Coach Pat Collins, finished with a 13-2 record in 1987 and defeated Marshall 43-42 in the title game.

Quarterback Stan Humphries threw the game-winning touchdown with 7:19 remaining against the Thundering Herd.

The defense stopped a pair of Marshall drives in the final minutes to seal the victory.

ULM defeated North Texas, Eastern Kentucky and Northern Iowa in playoff games leading to the national championship contest.

Three of the 1987 players were chosen in the National Football League Draft.

During Saturday's induction ceremony, 1987 former player Troy Brown read aloud the words of 1987 defensive captain Claude Brumfield.

“Why do we return to ULM? We return here to support our past, the present, and the future of ULM because this is our home. This is where we were nurtured, kept safe, educated, supported, and loved. This is where we learned to accomplish our personal and professional goals. This is where we learned to become responsible men, champions in life, and productive community citizens …” he said.

“We have friends whose children have attended and are presently attending ULM. Why? Because they have seen what ULM has done for us, and they see an example they want to emulate.”

Coach Collins, now a consultant with the Longview (Texas) Independent School District, talked about the similarities between the 1987 team and ULM’s current football team, which has recently garnered national attention.

Both teams have possessed strong character, a focus on academics, and a supportive administration, he said.

“When we were a national football team, I’ll never forget the support we got from our administration. I see that today in this football program and at this school. Dr. Bruno has my full support—110 percent,” he said.

“What I see at ULM today is a great coaching staff, and I am thrilled to be around them. I love talking to them because they’re sharp, organized, and (head football coach) Todd (Berry) does a great job. I see a lot of similarities.”

ULM President Nick J. Bruno met Coach Collins in 2010, and the two shared a conversation that illuminated Collins’ strong character, Bruno said.

“He asked me the biggest challenge faced by our university, and I told him there are some old wounds that have to be healed. Those wounds surround names, mascot changes, and things that while important, should not dictate the past or the future of the institution. Coach said, ‘I’m with you. Just tell me what we need to do,’ Bruno recalled.

Bruno thanked Coach Collins, the 1987 team, and the support staff for embracing ULM and the Warhawks.

He said, “Today is probably the most rewarding day I’ve had since arriving because (the 1987 team and coach) have talked about ULM and about the Warhawks. It’s very emotional to me because it’s been a struggle to get everyone to say we are together. It’s been a struggle for our players, students, and staff.

"So, thank you, 1987 team and Hall of Famers. Today we move forward, and we don’t look back, other than with smiles on our face because of what you’ve done for this university.”

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