Special to The Flash
by Tommy Wells, Public Information Officer for Ranger College
When Ranger College Special Assistant to the President Stan Feaster reached out invited Dr. Calvin Lawrence a few weeks ago, he asked if he would be interested in coming to tour the campus and to interview for the Dean of Developmental Education position. Lawrence readily agreed … but asked for a few days to arrive as he didn’t think it was possible to get away from his friend.
Not too many ever “get away” from Charles Haley, especially when the former San Francisco and Dallas Cowboys defensive end was being inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame.
A former college teammate of Haley’s at James Madison University, Lawrence was among Haley’s special guests at the Hall of Fame ceremony on Aug. 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. It was experience, he told members of the Ranger Lions Club last Thursday, that left him, his son and another friend speechless.
“I was awed,” said Lawrence, who in 1982, was a fifth-year senior on the defensive line at James Madison when Haley arrived. “I don’t think they even know how awed I was at the whole thing.”
Haley, who won two Super Bowl rings with San Francisco and three more with Dallas, was among eight NFL greats inducted into the Hall of Fame during the ceremony. Also enshrined were San Diego linebacker Junior Seau, Pittsburgh running back Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, Raiders’ wide receiver Tim Brown, Buffalo GM Bill Polian, Vikings’ center Mick Tinglehoff, Packers GM Ron Wolf and defensive lineman Will Shields.
As Haley’s guest, Lawrence was among a select group that received invitations. Each inductee is allowed just three guests to the event.
“I was in this blue haze, more like coming down off the mountain top,” he said. “I was blessed to receive an invitation to that (the Hall of Fame ceremony).”
During his trip to Canton, Lawrence said he and his son were able to visit the Hall of Fame and attend the Hall of Fame game, which featured the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings. They also got to meet several other NFL greats, including running back Eric Dickerson and Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman.
Dickerson grew up in Texas and later starred at SMU before being drafted into the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams. He was later traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
Lawrence said the induction ceremony for each player was a moving experience, especially as each thanked the people who helped them along the way.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment when you realize you are among the 295 best players,” he said. “You can’t get to any level in this world without somebody’s assistance, so when these guys get up to that podium and start telling their stories, it impacts you.”
“It was a great experience,” said Lawrence, who received his doctor’s degree from Baylor University.
Shortly after the induction ceremony was complete, the Virginia native traveled to Ranger College and joined the Ranger College facility.