The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 9, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN - Hall of Fame humbling to Major, Warner

MORGANTOWN — Major Harris never was a man of many words, which was fine. In many ways he was better as an action hero right out of the G.I. Joe genre.

To others, words came easily. To the Major, he let his actions do the talking for him as he played quarterback at West Virginia University, doing things that others not only couldn’t do, but couldn’t even imagine doing.

Now, he stood in New York City at no less a fancy-schmancy place than the Empire Room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue. A microphone was before him as one of the inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame, and the floor was his.

He was short and sweet, as he always is. This was no Lou Gehrig speech, no “luckiest man on the face of the earth” stuff.

It was Major Harris being Major Harris.

“This is the icing on the cake for my career,” he began in that familiar, scratchy voice. “When I look back on it, you never dream of making the College Football Hall of Fame. It was just fun. I am kind of shellshocked. I compare us to airplanes. If you play college sports, this is where you want to land.”

Indeed it is. The Hall of Fame.

For Major Harris it was simply another “touch down.”

Think about that for a moment.

It is, in its own way, immortality, at least in the universe that worships at the Golden Dome.

It is Rockne and Grange and Nagurski and the Major.

On this day they were honoring a solid class of inductees, men with Heisman Trophies and Super Bowl rings. The biggest and the best … and do you know the reaction that came from the likes of Tim Brown of Notre Dame and Gino Torretta of Miami and Grant Wistrom of Nebraska and Pat Swilling of Georgia Tech and Chris Spielman of Ohio State and, yes, West Virginia’s own Curt Warner, who defected to Penn State and led the Nittany Lions to the national championship that his own state university has never won?

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Bob Herzel
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