The East-West Shrine Game® Hall of Fame includes some of football’s greatest names ever to play the game. Past players are selected for induction based on their commitment to the true purpose of the game – raising awareness and support for Shriners Hospitals for Children®, or other non-profit causes that benefit children, families and communities at large.
The induction ceremony takes place at the Players’/Hall of Fame Banquet. For banquet details and ticket information, see TICKETS.
View the list of past inductees.
Jim Hanifan, The Man; the Legend
Jim Hanifan, longtime assistant coach and former head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons, has had an incredibly successful career in football. He played for the University of California — Berkley, and was a member of the West Team in game #30 of the East-West Shrine Game in 1955. In addition to coaching for the West Team years later, Hanifan can now also add member of the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame to his accomplishments.
Hanifan was an All-American player at the University of California, leading the nation in receiving in 1954. He was an assistant coach at the University of Utah from 1966 to 1969, California from 1970 to 1971, and San Diego State in 1972; and according to the St. Louis Hall of Fame website, “If the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened a wing for assistant coaches, Jim Hanifan would be an inaugural inductee.”
In 1973, Hanifan began coaching in the NFL, serving as offensive line coach for the St. Louis Cardinals until 1978. In 1977, he was recognized as the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Hanifan returned to the Cardinals as their head coach after one year with the San Diego Chargers, a position he held from 1980 to1985. In his six seasons with the Cardinals, the team record was 39-49-1; he led the team to the 16-team playoff tournament during the strike-shortened season in 1982. His six-year term as head coach of the Cardinals is one of the longest in the team’s history, and his 39 wins are the most under a single coach in Cardinals history.
He later served as assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons, and as interim head coach for the final four games in 1989. He then spent seven seasons as the offensive line coach for the Washington Redskins from 1990 until 1996, and for the St. Louis Rams from 1997 until 2003, before he retired. Most of Hanifan’s work in the NFL was as an offensive line coach; he is one of few coaches to have won Super Bowl rings while serving two different teams – with the Redskins in 1991, and the Rams in 1999.
Hanifan also had an incredible career as a commentator. From 2004 to 2008, he was a color commentator for the Rams radio broadcast team, and hosted a weekly show on St. Louis station KLOU. Hanifan’s style of praising and critiquing players was described as refreshing and straight-from-the-gut, something that was rarely heard. He later served as an analyst on the pregame and postgame shows. He also wrote an autobiography, titled “Beyond X’s and O’s: My Thirty Years in Football,” recounting his noteworthy career.
A Meaningful East-West Shrine Game Experience
“I was flabbergasted,” said Hanifan upon learning of his induction into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame, “I was very honored and humbled by it. It’s a great game and a great tradition.”
The 1955 East-West Shrine Game had a significant impact on Hanifan. “I really didn’t know anything about the Shriners,” he said. “I just knew the game was a really big deal. And once you go to the hospital, you’re like, ‘oh I get it now,’ and you see what it’s all about. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of Shriners and their mission.
“I think anyone who has ever played in an East-West Shrine Game will tell you it’s very different from any other all-star game,” said Hanifan. “The others are only about showing off athletic ability – sure, they were meaningful, but nothing like the East-West Shrine Game. In this game, you feel like you are also helping these kids. I thought it was just tremendous that the Shriners organization puts on this game, and that they have made it such a successful event.”
Hanifan still fondly remembers the day he went to visit the San Francisco Shriners Hospital with the rest of the East-West Shrine Game players. Each player was partnered with an individual patient, and he spent time with a young boy who was lying in his bed, and had to wear braces on his legs. The young boy gave Hanifan a present that he whittled out of wood, especially for him. “It was very meaningful,” said Hanifan. “The young man was so sweet, and my heart went out to him.”
Hanifan also coached for the West Team in 2008, an experience he holds near to his heart. “The game holds a great deal of amazing memories for me as a player and a coach.”
Reflecting on the decision to induct Hanifan into the Hall of Fame, Harold Richardson, executive director of the East-West Shrine Game, said this: “He’s had a long career. I didn’t know this until recently, but Hanifan was approached about using his name as part of a charity golf tournament. He didn’t know anything about golf, but they told him he could choose which organization the proceeds would benefit. Without the blink of an eye, Hanifan agreed and named Shriners Hospitals for Children. Now, if that doesn’t represent what the game’s about, I don’t know what does. That’s the kind of thing the Hall of Fame represents. It’s about what these players take from the East-West Shrine Game, the meaning that stays with them, and what they do with it.”
Tommie Frazier, An Award-Winning Quarterback and One of College Football’s Greatest
Tommie Frazier, an award-winning quarterback for the University of Nebraska, is one of the 2015 inductees of the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame. Frazier played for the West Team in Game #71, on Jan. 13, 1996, and earned the William H. Coffman Award for Most Outstanding Offensive Player, and was named the Offensive MVP for his 34-18 victory over the East.
“Finding out that I was inducted into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame was a great feeling,” said Frazier. “Being out of the game for almost 20 years, and knowing that people still recognize and remember how I played in it, means a lot to me.”
Frazier made Nebraska football history by delivering outstanding performances. A four-year starter, he led the Huskers to back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995, and was named Most Valuable Player of three consecutive national championship games. As a junior, he returned from a seven-game medical absence to bring the Huskers a come-from-behind win over third-ranked Miami in the Fed-Ex Orange Bowl, and its first national title in 23 years. The following season, he led Nebraska to its second national championship with a 62-24 win over second-ranked Florida State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He also helped the Husker offense establish NCAA bowl records for most rushing yards (524) and most points in a quarter (29 in the second). He ended his senior year ranked first on the team in total offense with 1,996 yards (178.7 per game), third in scoring with 7.8 points per game, and second in rushing with 604 yards on 97 attempts. In 1995, the AP, UPI, Walter Camp, Football Writers Association of America, America Football Quarterly, College Sports, Football Foundation and AFCA all recognized Frazier as a first-team All-American. He became the first Husker to win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, finished as a runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, received the UPI’s Player-of-the-Year and The Sporting News Offensive Player-of-the-year awards, and was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien, Maxwell and the Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year awards. Frazier also was named to Sports Illustrated 85-Player All-Century Team. He finished his career with a Big Eight-record 33-3 overall mark as a starter. Frazier’s No. 15 jersey was retired in 1996, and he is considered one of the 10 greatest college football players of the century according to Sport magazine. In 2013, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
After Frazier’s performance in the East-West Shrine Game, West Coach Terry Donahue said, “When I covered the Fiesta Bowl, I said that the guy was the most dangerous player in college football, and I mean it more now. This guy’s dangerous. He’s great.”
The Game that Gives Back
Reflecting on the East-West Shrine Game, Frazier said, “It was an amazing experience. Being able to show the NFL scouts my ability to play the game – not many people get that opportunity.”
Frazier also noted that the East-West Shrine Game was in fact a great deal “more than just a game.”
“My favorite part about the experience was visiting the kids at the hospital. Knowing that we put smiles on those kids’ faces is what it’s all about,” said Frazier. “The game had a positive effect on me personally because it showed how I can give back to others. I strive to continue that work in my life now by working with kids in communities that are less fortunate. The East-West Shrine Game is about playing football, and giving back.”
Due primarily to health issues, Frazier did not play in the NFL, and retired from football on Sept. 17, 1996. He served as an assistant football coach at Baylor University, and as an assistant director of athletic development at Nebraska. He also served as the head football coach for Doane College.
“Frazier has had a great career,” said Harold Richardson, executive director of the East-West Shrine Game. “He is one of the most outstanding college football players of all time. He is one of the only to have brought his team two consecutive national championship titles, and also be named Most Valuable Player of three sequential national championship games. He overcame a lot to play at the level he did and was highly successful – he belongs in the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame.”