Hall of Famer Frank Gifford to Bakersfield for BHS honor

Frank Gifford, a Bakersfield High School (BHS) graduate and a member of the National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame, will be at the school on Friday, Nov. 9 for a special presentation in his honor.

Gifford will be at BHS’s Harvey Auditorium starting at 12:35 p.m. for the dedication of the Frank Gifford Hometown Hall of Famers Plaque presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company. A special reception will be held immediately following in the Little Harvey Auditorium adjacent to Harvey Auditorium.

The presentation is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Hometown Hall of Famers™ program, in which Hall of Famers are presented with a historical plaque in their hometown, explained BHS Principal David Reese. Presented by Allstate Insurance Company, the program honors the roots of the players’ great careers and promotes the positive values of the sport, Reese said. There have been only 273 members inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the more than 22,000 athletes who have played for the NFL.

Gifford graduated from BHS in 1948. He was a football standout at BHS and later Bakersfield College. Gifford went on to play for USC where he proved to be an accomplished player on offense and defense. In 1951, Gifford earned All-American honors.

Gifford was drafted by the New York Giants in 1952 and became one of the best running backs of his era. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1956. The Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFL championship that same year.

After retiring from the NFL, Gifford distinguished himself in a second career as a sports announcer, particularly as one of the key contributors to the success of Monday Night Football. He was also a commentator for several Summer and Winter Olympics. In 1977, Gifford received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  Gifford recently authored a book, “The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever.” In the book, Gifford recounts first person playing in the game that pitted the Giants against the Baltimore Colts. The game ended with the first sudden death overtime in NFL championship history.  Some have referred to the game as “the greatest game ever played.”

The public is invited but those wishing to attend must RSVP with Cheyenne Bell, BHS Dean of Athletics &Activities, at cheyenne_bell@khsd.k12.ca.us or by phone, 324-9841.

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