06/17/2011 7:00 PM -

TULSA, Okla. – After tallying the nominations sent in by the AFL Hall of Fame Advisory Board, ten finalists remain for the 2011 AFL Hall of Fame Class.

“This is arguably the most decorated group of players, executives and coaches ever involved in the Arena Football League. I’m pleased to a part of the selection process for the 2011 AFL Hall of Fame Class,” AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz said.

2011 Hall of Fame Finalists include: San Jose SaberCats HEAD COACH DARREN ARBET, two-time Coach of the Year (2000, 2002) and owner of three ArenaBowl titles with San Jose (2002, 2004, 2007); two-time ArenaBowl Champion with the Tampa Bay Storm and three-time First Team All-Arena (1990-92), OL/DL SYLVESTER BEMBERY; WR EDDIE BROWN, ranked the Greatest Player in AFL History by the AFL Historical Committee, and three-time Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1996, 1999); WR/LB HUNKIE COOPER, two-time Ironman of the Year award winner (1999-00) and AFL MVP (1993); OL/DL SAM HERNANDEZ, the AFL’s all-time sack leader with 59; OS GEORGE LaFRANCE, five-time ArenaBowl Champion (Detroit, 3; Tampa Bay, 2), two-time MVP (1989, 1991) and two-time Offensive Player of the Year (1989, 1991); Chicago Rush PRESIDENT/GM GENE NUDO, AFL Founders Award Winner (2002) and three-time League Executive of the Year (1997, 1999, 2000) with Arizona; WR/LB STEVIE THOMAS, four-time ArenaBowl Champion with the Storm who recorded 7,892 receiving yards and 111 tackles in his 10-year career; WR/DB BARRY WAGNER, ranked as the second Greatest Player in AFL History by the AFL Historical Committee and six-time Ironman of the Year winner (1992-97); and QB KURT WARNER, AFL Founders Award winner (2006), finishing his AFL career with 10,465 passing yards and 183 touchdowns.

The AFL League Office received ballots from the Hall of Fame Advisory Board on Wednesday, June 15, consisting of a rich list of journalists and executives with a long-time involvement in the game.

Each member selected ten candidates based on AFL contribution in the categories of players, coaches, administrators, officials and “at-large.”

Fans and current Hall of Fame members will vote on the finalists beginning on Monday, June 20. Votes will then be turned in to the Hall of Fame Operating Board of Directors. In order to be nominated for the 2011 Hall of Fame Class, candidates must have met four criteria. If a player was active before 1989, he must have played for two seasons. For players after 1989, three seasons of service are required. All players must be retired for three complete seasons (last year 2007). Coaches must have been active for a minimum of five seasons and need not be retired.

The 2011 Hall of Fame Class, which could arguably be the greatest class ever, will be announced during ArenaBowl XXIV weekend at the site of ArenaBowl and inducted during the 2012 season opener. This will be the first AFL Hall of Fame class inducted since 2002.