“I’m just thankful,” Douglass said. “A boy, 10 years old, says he’s going to make it to the league, and to see that thing all play out to the point where I’m actually going into a Hall of Fame.”
Douglass, who turns 60 on Monday, will take part in ring and Purple Jacket ceremonies in late June in Lexington. The hall of fame was founded 20 years ago to honor football players, coaches and contributors with ties to Kentucky. Former Lousiville and Cleveland Browns star Frank Minnifield, is the hall’s executive director. Minnifield entered the NFL in 1984, played in four Pro Bowls and was All-Pro in 1988.
“That’s my guy,” Douglass said. “He was one of my heroes growing up.”
Douglass is also excited to be joining former college teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dermontti Dawson, who played center for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1988 to 2000.
Douglass was born in Muncie, Indiana, and moved to Ohio when he was 8.
“When I was 10 I told my brother I’m going to be in the pros, and God honored that,” Douglass said.
His journey began at Trotwood-Madison High School and continued for two years at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Douglass played on a junior college national championship, was a first-team All-American and was inducted into Coffeyville’s hall of fame in 2017.
“I was not afraid to leave and get on that 18-hour bus ride to Coffeyville,” he said.
Douglass’ next stop was two years at Kentucky. After the NFL, Douglass returned to his alma mater where he coached 13 seasons and led Trotwood to a Division II state championship in 2011 before leaving for Springfield in 2014. He has an 83-40 record with the Wildcats and led them to the past three Division I state finals.
On Wednesday, seven of Douglass’ players announced decisions to play college football below the Division I level, an accomplishment he celebrates because of his experience of starting at the junior college level.
“I tell them it don’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish, so make the most of where you’re at,” he said. “Whatever school you go to just maximize it. The sky’s the limit. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go. Just keep working and grinding and doing the things you got to do. And it’ll be worth it.”