(Editor's note: National Football Foundation release.)
IRVING, Texas — Montana State and the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that they will jointly honor 2023 College Football Hall of Fame electee Bill Kollar with an on-campus salute.
The salute will take place this Saturday, Nov. 4, during the Bobcat's home football game against Northern Arizona, which will kick off at 1 p.m. on the Montana Television Network.
"An amazing combination of quickness and size, Bill Kollar dominated in the Big Sky Conference in the early 1970s, disrupting offenses, blowing past linemen and helping Montana State claim the 1972 conference title," said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are thrilled to honor him at the Bobcat Stadium as a member of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class and first player ever from Montana State elected."
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame Class in 1951, has become a tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in the Hall of Fame experience.
During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each electee returns to his respective school to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will stay on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many Hall of Famers cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and be recognized in front of their home crowd.
A first-team All-American in 1973 and a second-team All-American in 1972, Kollar led the Bobcats to the 1972 Big Sky title and an 8-3 record for head coach Sonny Holland. The following season, the team finished in second place at 7-4. College Football Hall of Fame coach Dennis Erickson, who was an assistant on Holland's staff, described Kollar and his athleticism as creating havoc for opponents, either by penetrating all along the line or by making plays all over the field, reminding him of Warren Sapp whom he later coached at Miami (Fla.).
In 1973, the first season Montana State recorded defensive stats, Kollar registered 107 tackles, one sack, three pass breakups and three fumble recoveries. Kollar was named the 1972 Big Sky defensive player of the year, and he was a three-time First-team All-Big Sky performer, becoming the first lineman and second defensive player in Big Sky annals to earn all-conference honors three times.
Kollar, who weighed 267 pounds and was clocked at 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash, earned an invite to the 1974 Senior Bowl, claiming MVP honors in the game to become the first defensive player to earn the recognition. He also played in the East-West Shrine Game and was selected to play in the Blue-Gray Game and All-America Bowl.
Kollar's No. 77 is one of four retired at Montana State, and he has been inducted into the Bobcat Athletics Hall of Fame, Montana Football Hall of Fame, Senior Bowl Hall of Fame (commemorating his 1974 MVP performance), and Warren Sports Hall of Fame in his hometown.
Drafted in the first round (24th overall) of the 1974 NFL Draft by Cincinnati, Kollar played for the Bengals from 1974-77 and the Buccaneers from 1977-82. In 1974, he earned a spot on the NFL All-Rookie team.
Kollar currently serves as a defensive/special projects coach for the Denver Broncos. His NFL coaching career, which began in 1984, also includes stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans. He appeared on the sidelines as a coach in Super Bowl XXXIII, Super Bowl XXXVI and helped Denver win Super Bowl 50. He also coached in the college ranks at Illinois and Purdue in the 1980s. Kollar has volunteered with the Montana Special Olympics and served as the Crusade Chairman of the Clermont County Unit of the American Cancer Society.
The Warren, Ohio, native now becomes the first Montana State player to ever enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Eric Berry (Tennessee), Michael Bishop (Kansas State), Reggie Bush (Southern California), Dwight Freeney (Syracuse), Robert Gallery (Iowa), LaMichael James (Oregon), Derrick Johnson (Texas), Bill Kollar (Montana State), Luke Kuechly (Boston College), Jeremy Maclin (Missouri), Terance Mathis (New Mexico), Bryant McKinnie (Miami [FL]), Corey Moore (Virginia Tech), Michael Stonebreaker (Notre Dame), Tim Tebow (Florida), Troy Vincent (Wisconsin), Brian Westbrook (Villanova), DeAngelo Williams (Memphis), and coaches Monte Cater (Lakeland [WI], Shepherd [WV]), Paul Johnson (Georgia Southern, Navy, Georgia Tech), Roy Kramer (Central Michigan) and Mark Richt (Georgia, Miami [FL]).
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 5 at the ARIA Resort & Casino.