WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Former Purdue football stars Leroy Keyes and Mike Alstott were inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame alongside longtime Winamac head football coach Tim Roth.
In front of nearly 500 attendees and members of the National Football Foundation, Keyes, Alstott and Roth were recognized at the Purdue Memorial Ballroom for their contributions to football during their different tenures in the state of Indiana.
The two Boilermakers were in different generations, but Keyes had the fortune of coaching Alstott in West Lafayette. As for Roth, he remembers coming to Ross-Ade Stadium in Keyes’ playing days.
“The other two guys who are being inducted — Leroy and Mike — on the whole scale, they’re up here, and Tim Roth is way down here. So, like I said I’m humbled by the honor,” Roth said.
Keyes, universally accepted as one of the top Purdue football players of all-time, had high praise for his fellow Boilermaker inductee.
“Mike, as far as I’m concerned is the top running back that Purdue has ever had,” Keyes said. “I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appreciated it when we let him go down to Tampa Bay. It’s an honor just to share the same stage.”
Alsott says Keyes played a big role in his development as a football player and as a person.
“Obviously, my senior year maybe breaking some of his records,” Alstott said. “He was a part of it. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch. I see him when we come back, so it’s special.”
Aside from the three inductions to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, two other well known Lafayette athletes were honored.
Cliff Avril of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and McCutcheon graduate and professional baseball player Clayton Richard were awarded for their efforts on and off the field.
Avril received the Drew Brees Mental Toughness award. It’s intended to provide recognition to a college or professional athlete who exemplified exceptional mental attitude or toughness while competing within the counties covered by this NFF chapter.
“It’s an honor,” Avril said. “Drew Brees does so much for Purdue football, and for him to think of me as a person who deserves this award is a blessing, and I appreciate it. It feels great to be back. It’s changed so much in the last seven, eight years. It’s awesome to get back around some of the people that have been here since day one.”
In his first season with the Seahawks, Avril won the Super Bowl — making him the 12th Boilermaker in the last fifteen years to win himself a ring.
“It’s amazing. Not too many can say they’re a Super Bowl champ,” Avril said. “I’m honored. I’m blessed to have gone through this past year and getting one. But what would be better than one? Trying to get another one, so we’re going to try make that happen.”
Richard was named an honorary scholar athlete. The Joe Tiller Chapter of the National Football Foundation was founded the year after Richard’s final year of high school so Richard was never eligible to win the Scholar Athlete of the Year award. For his efforts academically, athletically, and in community service he was retroactively recognized by the NFF.
“It’s pretty special,” Richard said. “Looking back 10, 11 years ago and thinking of what we went through with football and everything. To get honored for something 10 years ago, it’s neat and it’s a testament to my family and our community putting me into good situations, being able to show what their support means for me.”