Jan. 9, 2017
Bob Crable, a two-time consensus All-America linebacker in football at the University of Notre Dame and the most prolific tackler in Fighting Irish history, has been named to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Crable becomes the 46th former Notre Dame player-and the first since end Thom Gatewood in 2015-to join the College Football Hall of Fame. With 46 former players and six former coaches selected, Notre Dame boasts more honorees than any other school in the country.
Crable is part of the 2017 class that includes 10 players and three coaches. He will be inducted with the entire 2017 class Dec. 5, 2017, at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. The 2017 class also will be recognized at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta following the 2017 season. Crable will be honored during an on-campus salute at a Notre Dame home football game in 2017.
A two-time Irish captain under head coaches Dan Devine (Crable played for him in 1978-79-80) and Gerry Faust (Crable played his senior season under him in 1981), Crable led the Irish in total tackles in three straight seasons-in 1979 with a Notre Dame single-season record 187, in 1980 with 154 and in 1981 with 167 (plus two interceptions). Crable joins fellow linebackers Manti Te’o (2010-11-12) and Bob Olson (1967-68-69) as the only Irish players to lead Notre Dame in tackles in three consecutive campaigns (tackle statistics go back through the 1956 season).
His season tackle totals in 1979 (187) and 1981 (167) remain the two best single-season marks in Notre Dame history. Crable was a mainstay of the 1980 Irish defense that ranked fourth in the country in total defense (213.2 yards allowed per game), fifth in scoring defense (10.1 points) and eighth in both rushing (109.8 yards) and passing defense (103.0 yards).
The Cincinnati, Ohio, product tied the NCAA and Notre Dame single-game tackle record with 26 against Clemson in 1979 (Bob Golic also had 26 versus Michigan in 1978) and holds the Irish career record for tackles with 521. Crable had five career games with 20 or more tackles-26 against 14th-rated Clemson in 1979, 24 versus South Carolina in 1979 and against 11th-ranked Michigan in 1981 and 20 versus both Navy and 17th-rated Purdue in 1979. He had four other games with 19 tackles-including in a win over fifth-rated Alabama in 1980 and against Michigan teams in both 1979 and 1980.
As a junior in 1980, Crable’s consensus All-America season featured first-team mention on teams named by United Press International, the American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Newspaper Enterprise Association, The Sporting News and Football News. He was a second-team pick by the Associated Press. As a senior in 1981, he was a consensus first-team pick by AP, UPI, the AFCA, Walter Camp, The Sporting News and Football News. As a sophomore in 1979, he was a third-team pick by the AP and Football News. He was a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award as a senior in 1981. Crable was the Notre Dame Monogram Club team MVP as both a junior and senior in 1980 and 1981.
As a three-year starter Crable helped those three Irish teams to a combined 21-12-1 record-7-4 in 1979, 9-2-1 in 1980 (#9 in the final AP poll, #10 in the coaches’ voting) and 5-6 in 1981. He led the Irish to the number-one ranking in the AP poll after the Irish won their first seven games in 1980 and helped Notre Dame to that same slot one game into the 1981 campaign. He started 34 consecutive games to finish his collegiate career-leading the team in tackles in 31 of those. His career statistics included 33 tackles for loss (of 95 yards), 10 passes broken up, six fumbles recovered, four blocked kicks and three interceptions.
Crable played on Irish teams that defeated Houston in the Cotton Bowl following his freshman season in 1978 and lost to unbeaten, top-ranked eventual national champion Georgia in the Sugar Bowl after the 1980 season (Crable made 10 tackles in that contest). He recovered a fumble that led to an Irish touchdown in the comeback win over Houston.
Crable was maybe best known for his field-goal block with six seconds remaining against Michigan in 1979 that preserved a 12-10 Irish victory over the sixth-ranked Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
After playing in the 1981 Hula Bowl, Crable was selected in the first round (23rd overall pick) of the 1982 National Football League Draft by the New York Jets. He played six seasons (1982-87) at the professional level–participating in 66 career games, making 43 starts and recording 10 sacks. Crable is the only Notre Dame linebacker to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In 2006 Crable was named the Butkus Silver Anniversary Award Winner after being named to the Hamilton (Ohio) County Hall of Fame in 1992. He helped his last three Cincinnati Moeller High School teams under Faust to a combined 36-0 record and three straight Ohio state prep titles in 1975-76-77.
Born Sept. 22, 1959, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound Crable received his Notre Dame degree in 1982 from the College of Business Administration, with a major in finance.
Crable served as head football coach for seven seasons (2001-08) at Moeller High School (his alma mater) in Cincinnati after nine seasons as an assistant coach. He was president of Crable Sportswear (1987-90) and Craco Embroidery (1990-2002) and became president of Hilltop Management Association in Cincinnati. He now works in commercial real estate with Capital Real Estate Partners in Cincinnati while also serving as president of the Crable Investment Group. He’s also president of the Crable Foundation that helps fund education opportunities for student-athletes of team sports to attend Catholic schools.
–by John Heisler, senior associate athletics director