Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Jim McMahon closing in on graduating from BYU, opening door for induction into school's hall of fame

By Brandon Judd, Deseret News

Published: Fri, April 18 3:35 p.m. MDT

 After heaving the 60-yard pass that won the 1980 Holiday Bowl, Athlete of the year Jim McMahon enjoyed a celebratory on-the-field reunion with is dad and namesake, Jim McMahon Sr.

After heaving the 60-yard pass that won the 1980 Holiday Bowl, Athlete of the year Jim McMahon enjoyed a celebratory on-the-field reunion with is dad and namesake, Jim McMahon Sr.

(AP Photo)

Jim McMahon's illustrious football career — spanning from his time at Roy High to his days at BYU and the NFL — has brought the former quarterback many honors.

His name is among the elect in the College Football Hall of Fame. He won the Davey O'Brien Award and Sammy Baugh Trophy while at BYU in 1981, and earned multiple All-America honors.

He's a two-time Super Bowl champion, including leading the Chicago Bears to the 1985 NFL championship.

He's had his number retired at Roy, and last fall joined the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

Now, it appears the former BYU quarterback could have his jersey hanging at LaVell Edwards Stadium as well.

McMahon tweeted Thursday that he has passed his statistics class, and he is closing in on his college degree at BYU.

McMahon has been unable to join fellow former Cougar quarterbacks Ty Detmer, Steve Young, Marc Wilson, Robbie Bosco, Gifford Nielsen, Gary Sheide and Virgil Carter in the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in part because he had not graduated from the school, a prerequisite for the honor. Less than two years ago, he still had 10 credits to complete.

But now, that degree is nearing completion, and it opens the door for him to be included in the school's hall of fame.

On Friday, McMahon tweeted again:

During Friday's BYU Sports Nation broadcast, Young, who backed up McMahon at BYU in the early 1980s, recalled being back at BYU for the Cougars' home opener against Washington in 2010. That day, the school honored its eight All-American quarterbacks, including McMahon.

"Jim came back (to BYU). And if you recall, he ran the flag out pregame and it was an emotional time for all of us on the field to just know that Jim and all of his fits and starts with BYU and the BYU community. It was always just a little bit strange," Young said.

"To have him back and to have him feel the love from everybody and appreciation for all that he had accomplished for BYU when he was here ... Jim felt that."

Young continued, "I remember being in the locker room underneath the stadium before the game and all of us that were hanging on the old quarterbacks and he was emotional. He made a commitment to finish school so that he could put his name up in the stadium. That was kind of the prerequisite, and he wanted to do it.

"This is going to allow Jim's name to get up in the stadium, which I think is really important. (It's) important to him, and important to all of us. We should all cheer that, and the effort that Jim's made to do that. The spirit of how he's come to this, I couldn't be happier."

Thursday's news was also welcome information to BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe.

In 2008, McMahon's father wrote a letter to Holmoe asking that his son be allowed to join the BYU Hall of Fame.

Then in October 2012, when Ty Detmer was being honored at halftime of a BYU-Oregon State game for his impending induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, Holmoe responded to a fan on Twitter asking when McMahon would be honored.

"My work is not done w/o #9 (McMahon's number) hanging from press box at LVES (LaVell Edwards Stadium)," Holmoe said.

McMahon also responded, saying: "Thx Tommy new I could count on u! Gonna try (and) work on those credits my man …"

Now, it appears years of work could come to fruition for McMahon, his family and fans hoping to see a Cougar legend recognized for his achievements.

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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1. BlackDiamond
Provo, UT,
April 18, 2014

Good on you Jim... Great job

2. BigCougFan
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
April 18, 2014

This is great news! Way to go Jim. All your fans have hoped for a positive outcome to this dilemma. Looking forward to seeing #9 in the Hall of Fame.

3. promoteabook
Austin, TX,
April 18, 2014

Go Jim, I can't wait to see your # hanging from the stadium.

Mapleton, UT,
April 18, 2014

As a freshman at BYU, I loved watching Jim M. play at Cougar Stadium back in the "Miracle Bowl" season.

Now looking forward to seeing his number prominently displayed there soon!

Congratulations on finishing up the degree!

5. Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT,
April 18, 2014

Congrats to a legend!