Claborn, a volunteer for the bowl since its inception in 1971, fellow bowl volunteer Reg McCrary, former West Virginia and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and ex-Auburn fullback Tony Richardson are this year’s honorees.
The Hall of Fame includes volunteers and administrators and former players and coaches who participated in the bowl game in past seasons. Past inductees include star players Reggie White of Tennessee and Mike Singletary of Baylor and legendary coaches Vince Dooley of Georgia and Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech, according to the bowl’s website.
Claborn got involved with the event, originally called the Peach Bowl, through his friendship with bowl founder George Crumbley, who died in 2009. The two were classmates at now-defunct Tech High School in Atlanta.
“George Crumbley, he was working for the [Georgia Lions] Lighthouse for the Blind. … We were having lunch one day and he said, ‘I’m going to start a bowl and call it the Peach Bowl,’” Claborn said.
He has sold more than 30,000 tickets to the event. In fact, the D.L. Claborn Award was created in 2004 to honor the top Chick-fil-A Bowl ticket sales volunteers.
Claborn, a high school football referee for 26 years who then officiated in the Southeastern Conference for 20 years, refereed the first Peach Bowl. He also worked as an automobile salesman, first for Boomershine Pontiac and then owning his own dealership, D.L. Claborn Buick, later selling Isuzus, Suzukis, Hyundais and Hondas.
Claborn said he is thrilled to be inducted.
“I think it’s an unbelievably nice. … Not everybody gets inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he said, “so I call it a tremendous honor.”