Springs was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the 1979 NFL draft. For six years, he was the leading rusher and outstanding blocker. He proved invaluable to the Cowboys, blocking for Tony Dorsett, the Hall of Fame tailback. In 1985, Springs signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent two seasons before retiring. During the eight outstanding years of Spring's professional career, he gained 2,519 rushing yards. had 2,259 receiving yards, and scored 28 rushing touchdowns.
Following in his father's footsteps, Shawn Springs, a defensive back, played for Ohio State and in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and New England Patriots.
In 1990, Springs was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; followed by numerous physical complications, which included kidney failure. In 2004, he was placed on the National Transplant list. Three years later in 2007, his former Cowboy teammate and best friend, Emerson Walls, donated one of his kidneys to Springs. The following year, Springs and Everson shared their story with the world during a conference at Medical City in Dallas, Texas. Since then, these two friends developed The Gift for Life Foundation, an organization committed to educating the minority community on the illnesses that cause chronic kidney disease, including ways to prevent it and the donor process. The Foundation provides blood pressure and diabetic testing, as well as opportunities for children to attend Camp Renal, a camp designed for kids who suffer from kidney related diseases.
In 2003, Springs was among the first inductees into Lafayette's Athletic Hall of Fame along with football greats Lawrence Taylor and Mel Gray. In 2007, Springs entered a Dallas, Texas hospital to have minor surgery in order to remove a cyst from his arm. During surgery, he suffered cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. Springs remained in a coma until he passed away four years later on May 12, 2011.
In addition to his son, Springs' survivors include his wife Adrianne; two daughters, Ayra and Ashley, and at least two grandchildren.
Walter "Fuzzy" Ward also is a 2011 Posthumous Inductee into the HRAASHF. Ward will be remembered in the annals of Hampton University's sports history as one of its best all-around basketball players. He was outstanding on offense and defense. Ward played 86 consecutive games and closed out his collegiate career in brilliant style by scoring 23 points to break Hampton's all-time scoring record. He finished his four-year stay at HU (then Hampton Institute) with 1574 points.
Ward began his basketball career playing with the "Baby Pirates" at Hampton's George P. Phenix High School (1954-1957). It was there that he gained popularity and fame for his keen competitive spirit and superior sportsmanship. Ward led Phenix to some memorable victories against teams comprised of future HRAASF inductees such as Earl Faison-Huntington and John Hobbs-Booker T. of Norfolk.
Ward was a three-year captain of Hampton's basketball team. During his senior year he was selected as the team's MVP and earned All-CIAA first team honors. Joining Ward on the All-CIAA first team were such CIAA legends as Bruce Spraggins and Jackie Jackson from Virginia Union, Lawrence Hancock from Howard University, and Cleo Hill from Winston Salem.
Ward was the first player ever drafted into the NBA from Hampton University when the Detroit Pistons selected him in the 8th round of the 1961draft. He was simultaneously drafted by the Washington, DC franchise of the now defunct American Basketball League. Walter was unable to accept either offer as he was required to comply with the military draft.
From 1961 to 1963, Ward served in the United States Army as a Physical Activities Specialist and Athletic Coach in Wildwood Station, Kenai, Alaska. While on active duty, he played basketball for the Wildwood Station Post Basketball Team and was recognized as "being virtually a one man scoring machine". In the Elmendorf Tournament in 1963, Ward unanimously won MVP honors and triggered the tournament's biggest upset. The Cheechako Alaska News claimed that "he had an unstoppable jump shot and was murder on the boards".
After his tour of duty with the Army, he continued to play his favorite sport with the Courtsmen in the Rucker Professional Tournament and other tournaments throughout New York City and the Tri-State area. Ward also played for the Allentown Jets in the Eastern Professional Basketball League.
Ward earned a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Hampton (Institute) University and a M.S. degree in Special Education from Manhattan College. He dedicated his life to excellence in education for over 35 years. He taught, coached, and mentored hundreds of students in New York City and Westchester County public school systems.
Walter Ward passed away on November 28, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Lorraine Scott Ward, and sons, Kenneth and Donald.
Darren Perry began his football career at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, VA. A student of the game, he excelled on both sides of the ball. As a Deep Creek Hornet, Perry was an All-Southeastern District and second team All-State selection at quarterback. He threw for 2,970 yards and 23 touchdowns in his high school career and rushed for 1,167 yards and 14 touchdowns. Perry also was a team captain for the football, basketball, and tennis teams.
An exemplary athlete, he switched positions in college and became one of the best defensive backs to put on a uniform at Penn State where he developed into an All-American. As a Nittany Lion, Perry was the second leading all-time interceptor with 15. He also holds Nittany Lion records for 299 interception return yards and three interceptions for touchdowns. Perry had six interceptions his senior year and returned two for touchdowns. He was named a first team Football Writers All- American.
An eighth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992, by the time his initial NFL camp was over Perry had won the starting free safety position. He intercepted six passes. Perry was the first rookie since 1955 to lead the Steelers in interceptions. He also was earned the 1992 "Joe Greene Great Performance Award", given to the outstanding Steelers rookie. The pairing of Perry with Pro Bowler Rod Woodson in the secondary helped create one of the NFL's most effective and durable secondaries. Perry went on to start the first 110 games of his career including Super Bowl XXX.
Perry played seven seasons with the Steelers then sat out the 1999 season with a neck injury. He finished his playing career in 2000 as a New Orleans Saint. His coaching resume includes stints with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Oakland. Perry began his second season with the Packers in 2010 as secondary-safeties coach, his ninth season coaching in the NFL.
While coaching defensive backs over the past nine years, Perry has tutored a Pro Bowl player in five of the last six seasons. Perry spent four seasons coaching defensive backs in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher, the team and coach for whom he played the majority of his career. He was the Steelers' assistant defensive backs coach in 2003 and was promoted to defensive backs coach in 2004. In 2005, Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL.
Perry is credited for assisting the rapid development of Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu. The versatile Polamalu was AP All- Pro pick twice (2004, 2005) with Perry as his position coach.
Among up-and-coming assistants, Perry is a core member of the next wave of potential NFL head coaching candidates. He guided the defensive secondary in the Packers' 2011 Super Bowl victory. Many people around the League believe it is only a matter of when, not if, Perry ascends the next step to defensive coordinator.
Among the Virginia Pilot's 50 Greatest Athletes of South Hampton Roads, Darren Perry is listed as number 33.
Morris Smith has been a champion, championship developer, and team leader for most of his athletic related career. He was a star on the Booker T. Washington High School of Norfolk 1958 State Championship Football team and a member of the 1959 State Champion mile relay team.
From 1959 to 1963 as a collegiate, Smith continued to excel in track and football at St. Augustine's College. He ran track for two years and played football for four years. For three years, Smith was a two-way starter as an end, split end, defensive end, and defensive back. He led the football team in receptions for two years and served as a team captain in 1962.
Hampton Roads African American Hall of Fame to induct 13, including Mourning
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