April 14, 2010
DALLAS - Former Alabama middle guard Warren Lyles was among six individuals who helped shape the tradition and history of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic that were inducted Wednesday into the Hall of Fame "Class of 2010" during enshrinement ceremonies at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Lyles joined another former Alabama footballer, Jackie Sherrill, in the class. Sherrill was recognized for his Cotton Bowl legacy as a head coach with Texas A&M and Mississippi State. Lyles earned his honor by virtue of his outstanding performances in the 1981 and 1982 Cotton Bowl games.
Lyles saved his best effort of the season for the 1981 Cotton Bowl Classic. His coach, the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, sensed that Lyles would be the target of Baylor's point of attack.
Minutes before kickoff in the Bama locker room, Bryant challenged his defenders to make a statement against the Bears. Obviously, his words touched a nerve because Lyles responded with a tremendous performance. He recorded eight tackles for the Crimson Tide, five of them were unassisted and resulted in 26 yards in losses. The Alabama defense totally disrupted the Baylor game plan, limiting the Bears to 158 yards in total offense, 54 yards rushing and forced seven turnovers. Lyles lived up to his coach's pregame challenge and helped lead the Crimson Tide to a compelling 30-2 victory. The following year Lyles racked up another eight tackles in a close loss to Texas in the 1982 Cotton Bowl game.
Sherrill, another Bryant protege, played for the Tide in the mid-1960s but went on to a successful coaching career after leaving the Capstone. Sherrill is one of only four coaches to lead two different institutions to the Cotton Bowl Classic. In the 1980s, after an 18-year absence, he led Texas A&M to three consecutive appearances in the bowl game. The highlight was a memorable 36-16 victory over Auburn in the Cotton Bowl's 50th anniversary game in 1986. He also led Mississippi State to a Cotton Bowl appearance following the 1998 season.
Other honorees included the CBAA's first executive director Wilbur Evans, Notre Dame split end Kris Haines, Texas wingback Phil Harris and Notre Dame quarterback Joe Montana. Each member of the Hall of Fame received a personalized bronze statue in the likeness of a 1930s football player, the era in which the Classic was founded.
Brad Sham, "The Voice of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic," and "The Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," served as Master of Ceremonies.
The Class of 2010 was the eighth to be inducted into the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and the first in three years.
A judging committee comprised of media representatives and athletic administrators voted from a list of 50 nominees that included players, coaches, bowl administrators and others who have made special contributions to the Classic.