As the NFCA's Hall of Fame committee meets this week to determine the inductees that will make up the 2016 class, there are worthy candidates aplenty. None fits that bill more accurately, however, than a man by the name of Bob Brock.
While longtime enthusiasts and followers of the game will surely recognize that name, modern fans may not. Allow me to act as an introductory.
Brock has been around the game longer than many of today’s active players have been alive. A veteran with twenty-nine years of head coaching experience at Baylor, Texas A&M, and Sam Houston State, he also served as an assistant at Tennessee for three seasons in the late nineties and early 2000s.
College Station was where his greatest success was found. At the helm of the Aggies' program for fifteen seasons, Brock led the squad to three national championships in 1982, 1983, and 1987, as well as runner-up finishes in 1984 and 1986.
If player development is more your speed, Brock has coached twenty-one all-Americans, two players that won Olympic gold medals on Team USA, and has seen sixty players under his tutelage take home all-region honors.
In 2002, Brock took over the Sam Houston State program. Previously a solid competitor in the Southland conference, the program had fallen on hard times and finished bottom-of-the-heap for several years. When Brock came in, that changed. In a few short years, he took the Bearkats from worst to first. In 2005, his squad finished as the conference's runner-up. In 2007, his program took home the Southland title, vaulting them to their first-ever Division 1 NCAA tournament appearance. The Bearkats beat the always-powerful Louisiana-Lafayette before being eliminated from the tournament.
In 2016, Brock will reach the 1,100 wins mark. Let that sink in for a moment. A coach who began his or her career in 2016 could win thirty-five games a year and still have to coach for more than thirty-one years to reach that milestone.
Yet, despite all of his accomplishments, achievements, and a stellar career of service, Brock remains on the outside of the NFCA’s Hall of Fame. He sits as-yet officially unrecognized amongst his peers including some who have spent ½ the time he has at the highest level of the game and whose resumes do not measure up.
His resume and accomplishments are unmistakably excellent. He has been a candidate for selection numerous times, through a fairly rigorous process and yet has been passed over each time. Even his successor at Texas A&M, current Aggies head coach Jo Evans, will be inducted as a part of this year’s class, preceding her predecessor.
So what gives? What has kept and continues to keep Bob Brock out of the Hall of Fame?
The NFCA says it’s due to his “lack of service” to their organization.
The man is one of less than three-dozen coaches at any level to reach the 1,000 plateau. He is one of four coaches to have won a Division 1 national title and still sit outside the Hall of Fame; the trio that join him in that notoriety are Tim Walton, Kelly Inouye-Perez, and Heather Tarr. Between them, they have four national titles to their names. Recall that Brock has three all his own.
“Lack of service” is an ambiguous term, but that’s likely on purpose. It’s another way of saying ‘he hasn’t done enough for us, so we aren’t giving him what he’s earned’.
It’s the NFCA’s Hall of Fame and they can induct who they feel is worthy. But Bob Brock’s exclusion based solely on petty excuses is a glaring red mark on the organization’s proverbial report card. If his name isn’t called as part of the Class of 2016, it will be yet another sad chapter in the story and an excellent coach, a good man, and a successful and worthy part of the game will continue to get the short end of the stick through no fault of his own.