Published on May 8, 2017  

It is a stellar class, including Walt Barnes, Lauren Blankenship, Bobby Bowden, Wally Burnham, Cortland Finnegan and Charlie Owens.  As they spoke, the inductees caused the members of the audience to laugh, to cry and to be inspired.  Perhaps the most poignant moment came during the remarks of Cortland Finnegan, standout football athlete at Samford and NFL star, when he spoke across the crowded room to his mother, acknowledging her challenges as a single mom and thanking her for the sacrifices she made on his behalf.  Cortland credited Samford for his success, as well, but every person in the room on Saturday night knew that his character was shaped by a slight lady, beaming through her tears as her son spoke of his love for her.

The world is better because of Cortland Finnegan and the gentle toughness of his mother.