The Chiefs added to their collection of Hall of Famers on Saturday night, and Bill Parcells will be the first Wichita State alumnus inducted.
Defensive tackle Curley Culp, a cornerstone of the Chiefs defense in their upset of heavily favored Minnesota in Super Bowl IV, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Culp was voted into the Class of 2013 with former Baltimore offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden; Dallas guard Larry Allen, Minnesota wide receiver Cris Carter, Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Parcells and Green Bay linebacker Dave Robinson, like Culp a nominee by the Seniors Committee. They will be inducted on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
Parcells becomes Wichita State’s first alumnus to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall. He was a linebacker at the University of Wichita from 1961 to 1963, earning All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a senior and helping the Shockers to the 1963 conference championship.
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Parcells was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1964 but didn’t make the team. He was an assistant at Hastings College in 1964 but returned to Wichita in 1965 and was on the Shocker staff for one season, coaching linebackers.
Parcells had to wait a while, earning a bust in Canton on his fourth try. He thought he might get in the previous year in tandem with one of his former players, Curtis Martin.
“It was a little less stressful than last year,” Parcells said in a telephone interview from Florida. “I was kind of hoping we could do it together, but as fate would have it, it didn’t work out.”
Parcells reversed the fortunes of four teams, coaching the New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, during 19 years as a head coach. He finished with a record of 172-130-1, most notably leading the Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991. He led the Patriots to the Super Bowl after the 1996 season.
Former Chiefs guard Will Shields, one of 15 modern-era finalists for the second straight year, was eliminated in the reduction to 10 candidates, largely because of the presence of Ogden and Allen on the ballot for the first time.
Culp is the ninth member of the Chiefs team that won Super Bowl IV — and fifth member of the defense — joining fellow tackle Buck Buchanan, linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier, cornerback Emmitt Thomas, quarterback Len Dawson, kicker Jan Stenerud, coach Hank Stram and owner Lamar Hunt.
Culp, who spent 1968 to 1974 with the Chiefs, also played with Houston during 1974-80 and became pro football’s prototype 3-4 nose tackle for one of the game’s dominant defenses of the mid-to-late 1970s.
“To become a Hall of Famer, that’s really special,” said Culp, 66. “It’s the top. I think my body of work and my contributions to the game were significant enough to be included among the greatest players. It’s a humbling and satisfying experience to be part of that.
“Being part of that Super Bowl team was magnificent. A couple of guys had been down that journey. When they played Green Bay in the first Super Bowl, guys like Len Dawson, Buck Buchanan, Otis Taylor, and the rest of the team had already been there. They knew what was involved to compete and to compete well. They brought me along gracefully.”
Shields, one of two 12-time Pro Bowlers in NFL history, was understandably disappointed.
“This is my second year, this is their first year,” he said of Allen and Ogden. “We’ll have to do what we have to do and see what our time holds.”
Culp, a former NCAA wrestling champion at Arizona State, entered the NFL in 1968 as a second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos, who unsuccessfully tried to convert him to the offense line. Stram seized the opportunity to trade for Culp, making good on a promise the coach made when he spoke at an Arizona State football banquet.
“He said, ‘Curley, if I ever get the opportunity to get you, I will,’” Culp recalled. “It just panned out that way. He lived up to his word. It was a great situation for me. He gave me an opportunity to compete for the tackle job.”
Culp won the job alongside Buchanan, and the Chiefs created the Triple Stack defense, a four-man front with Culp lined on the nose in front of Lanier and Bell. In the 1969 AFL Championship Game in Oakland — the last AFL title game before the NFL-AFL merger — Culp made four solo tackles, assisted on two tackles and had a sack as the Chiefs beat Oakland 17-7 and advanced to Super Bowl IV.
With Culp, a massive 6-2, 265-pounder, dominating Minnesota’s undersized Mick Tingelhoff, the Vikings were unable to move the ball in the Super Bowl as the Chiefs won easily 23-7 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
Culp handled Tingelhoff as if he were winning a college wrestling match.
“The wrestling helped in football because of the hand-to-hand combat and the quickness,” Culp said. “ Mick was a little smaller weight, and I was a little larger weight, and that helped, and my strength was a factor. To go in there and win as an underdog was special.”
Sacks were not an official statistic during Culp’s career in Kansas City from 1968-74, but unofficially, he he had 8.5 sacks in 1969 and 7.5 in 1972.