“I’m hoping guests who see the personal touches in all the lockers get the sense that there’s a great human story behind every one of these lockers,” Crawford said.
This marks the Hall of Fame’s third year creating a locker installation to honor inductees. Each member of the 2023 Hall of Fame class received his own personalized locker, featuring items like uniforms and photos that were donated by the inductees, their families and colleges. The exhibit opened Friday and will run through early January.
Hall of Fame President and CEO Kimberly Beaudin said the locker exhibit started as a unique, authentic way to showcase inductees.
“This is why we exist,” Beaudin said. “If we could do this for all 1,300 (members), it would be amazing.”
Crawford worked with inductees, colleges and family members to coordinate the logistics of loaning and donating items for the exhibit. He said he’s been impressed by the generosity and respect displayed by inductees and their schools when assisting the Hall of Fame.
Visitors will see Georgia ties as soon as they walk through the door. Former Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s locker lies just beyond the door. Former Georgia coach Mark Richt’s is to the immediate right of the entrance. Eric Berry, who played at Tennessee and Creekside High School, and Terance Mathis, who played at New Mexico and Redan High, have lockers as well.
Both Richt and Johnson’s lockers feature relics of their time coaching locally, including Johnson’s typical game-day attire at Tech — with everything from a belt with the school’s logo to white Adidas sneakers — and Richt’s 2002 and 2005 SEC championship rings.
Crawford said he developed a text relationship with Richt while designing his locker.
“He kept texting me photos, asking, ‘Is this good enough?’” Crawford said. “‘Will this work?’ They were incredibly personal photos.”
The pictures highlight moments throughout his career, from posing with his mentor, famed Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, to celebrating an SEC championship with his wife. There’s even one of Richt yelling at a referee, which he told Crawford was OK to include.
One of the “thrills of the job” for Crawford is learning more about Hall of Fame members. Among his favorite items: the photo of Montana State’s Bill Kollar with a bobcat cub and a poster Navy donated with photos of Johnson — including one featuring Army coach Jeff Monken, a long-time assistant under Johnson, wearing Navy gear.
Crawford said “Easter eggs” like the Monken photo are among the best features of the exhibit.
“This is the greatest locker room in college football each year,” Crawford said. “The collection of talent and accomplishment that fills this room is unsurpassed.”