Former University of Louisville and Cleveland Browns football player Frank Minnifield has been selected to receive the Blanton Collier Award for Integrity at the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction on Friday, June 20, at the Brown Theatre. (Tickets are still available and benefit Kosair Children’s Hospital.)
“Frank Minnifield lives out our father’s belief you can accomplish anything so long as you do not care who gets the credit, which explains why he was so surprised to be nominated for this award,” Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, daughter of Blanton Collier, said in a press release.
Blanton Collier coached the University of Kentucky before taking over the Cleveland Browns as head coach, leading that team to an NFL Championship win in 1964.
Frank Minnifield played for U of L from 1979-1982. Originally a walk-on because he was considered too small, Minnifield earned a scholarship after his freshman year, along with a position as starting cornerback.
After spending two seasons in the dysfunctional Unites States Football League with the Chicago Blitz and Arizona Wranglers, Minnifield joined the Cleveland Browns in 1984. Known for his physical, “bump-and-run” style of coverage and hard hitting, Minnifield made four straight Pro Bowl teams from 1986-1989 and was voted first-team all-NFL in 1987 and ’88. He also was named to the 1980s NFL “all-decade” team. In addition, Minnifield became known for giving the cheering section in Cleveland their nickname, “the Dawg Pound,” along with fellow cornerback Hanford Dixon.
Despite his prolific on-field success, Minnifield’s character and work outside football are the reasons he has been selected to receive this award. Dr. McLaughlin proclaimed, “Frank is a visionary and humanitarian who almost single-handedly created the KY Pro Football Hall of Fame to benefit children in the commonwealth.”
In addition to his work with the Hall of Fame, Minnifield started and grew his own business, Minnifield All-Pro Homes, in Lexington after his playing career. In 1993, he became the first African-American executive named to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board. Later, he became Chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees in 2011.
Fittingly, Minnifield will be presented the award at the annual induction ceremony of the Hall of Fame he created. The ceremony, which will be held in the Brown Theatre at 7 p.m. on June 20, will see the induction of Sherman Lewis, Larry Seiple, Mark Clayton and Elvis Dumervil, as well as the Centre College football team.