TTU Sports Hall of Fame to induct Branon Vaughn

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Branon Vaughn was not only one of the most outstanding defensive football players ever at Tennessee Tech during his career from 1995-1999, the talented defensive end finished as one of the standout players in the Ohio Valley Conference and the nation.

In recognition of his success on the gridiron, Vaughn is one of five people who will be enshrined into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame October 30 as the school honors its athletic legacy with the 35th annual induction ceremony.

The 2009 Hall of Fame Class will be honored during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 30-31. The induction will take place at the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday evening, and the group will also be recognized at the Homecoming football game Saturday against Tennessee State.

One of just six players in school history to be named first-team all-OVC in three seasons, he was a finalist for the prestigious I-AA Buck Buchanan Award in 1998 and was named Tech's Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year in 1999. He wrapped up his career by earning OVC Defensive Player of the Year honors and claiming his second straight All-America honor. Following graduation with a bachelor's degree in business, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent.

A native of Memphis, Vaughn arrived at Tech in 1995 out of Overton High School. He played one season in a reserve role, then sat out the 1996 campaign as a redshirt under first-year head coach Mike Hennigan.

Working with Hennigan and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, Vaughn emerged in 1997 as one of the league's most feared pass rushers, setting school records for quarterback sacks and leading the league two consecutive years in tackles-for-loss before finishing with school records in both categories.

As a sophomore, he set a Tech season record and topped the OVC with 20 tackles-for-loss. He was named first-team all-OVC and was voted winner of the team's Sonny Allen Leadership Award. His 13 TFL yards ranks as the second-best season in school history.

As a junior, he repeated as the OVC leader in tackles-for-loss with 19 and set two school records for quarterback sacks. His five sacks in Tech's win over Eastern Kentucky tied the school single-game record, earning him I-AA National Defensive Player of the Week selection. He finished the year with 10 sacks to set the single-season record. He was named first-team all-OVC and All-America by The Sports Network and The Football Gazette. 

As a senior, he won his second Leadership Award and also claimed the prestigious Robert Hill Johnson Award and earned another All-America selection after matching his own school record with 10 more quarterback sacks.

In all, he played in 43 games and finished with 223 total tackles. He had 57 tackles-for-loss for a school-record 298 yards. His 28 quarterback sacks for 260 yards are also school records.

He was voted the OVC Defensive Player of the Week four times in his career, and in 1999 became the first Golden Eagle to win OVC Defensive Player of the Year in 27 years, since Jim Youngblood in 1972.

Vaughn not only got the job done on the field, he was also generous with his time in working with the media, who voted him winner of the Headliner Award in 1998 and 1999.

After stints with the 49ers, the Memphis Maniacs of the ill-fated XFL, and the Memphis Explorers in Arena League 2, Vaughn left football to enter private business. He took a position with the State of Tennessee working in Human Services and Child Services, before returning to Tech in 2007 to study toward a master's degree. As a graduate assistant, he served on coach Watson Brown's staff as administrative assistant for two years. 

Joining Vaughn in the Class of 2009 are Dena Adams Fairley, Jim Bishop, John Moorhead and Tony Stone. With their induction, the Hall of Fame will grow to 153 since it was established in 1975.

Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner and the game are available by calling (931) 372-3940, or through the Athletics ticket office in Eblen Center. Reservations must be made for the dinner, and tickets are $25 each.