Kevin Faulk sat alone in his computer room Thursday when his father-in-law brought him a FedEx package. Faulk was confused. He hadn’t purchased anything online, so why had this box appeared at his house?
“When the FedEx package comes to your house,” Faulk said, “you usually know what it is because you ordered something.”
Faulk opened the cardboard folds. Inside, he found a card that read, “Welcome to the club.” The former LSU running back and assistant coach typically ignores mysterious mail, but there was a football, too. It commemorated him as one of this year’s selections to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The honor amazed Faulk. Sure, he left LSU in 1998 with almost a dozen career records, including the most yards rushing (4,557) and rushing touchdowns (46) in school history. He still held the SEC record for most all-purpose yards (6,833) in a career.
But to have one of the most selective honors in the sport happen already made Faulk emotional, especially after what he had endured over the previous four months.
“I wasn't expecting this for another 10 to 15 years,” Faulk said Tuesday in a news conference at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. “It is a blessing.”
The selection raised the spirits of Faulk and his family, providing a moment of joy in the midst of their grief. Faulk’s 19-year-old daughter, Kevione, died in September, and he missed part of the season to be with his family as they processed the loss. Months later, he wasn’t retained as LSU’s running backs coach through the staff transition.
Asked Tuesday how much the selection uplifted him considering what he had been through, lines of tears dripped down Faulk’s cheeks.
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“Times 20,” Faulk said. “Times 20. Been tough. Like you always say, gotta have faith. Gotta have faith, and having faith means that nothing happens to you. It happens for you. It's tough, but times 20, like I said.”
After the box arrived, Faulk had to wait three days to share the news. He told his wife and a couple of other people. Once the selection became public Monday afternoon, Faulk spent the rest of the day talking to former LSU teammates and told them, “This was for them.”
“The time we had, the memories we had, the opportunity to bond as a unit, to bond as friends and be able to still talk about it now,” Faulk said, “that's what it's all about at the end of the day.”
Faulk also spoke to former LSU coach Gerry DiNardo for about 15 minutes. Faulk, a native of Carencro, had signed in 1995 as the crown jewel of DiNardo’s first class, choosing the struggling program over established powers such as Tennessee, Florida State and Colorado. He knew he had to stay close to home when his oldest daughter was born the day after he returned from a recruiting trip to Florida.
Over the next four years, Faulk became an LSU legend. He rushed for a then-school record 246 yards and two touchdowns against Houston on his way to becoming an All-American in 1996. He earned three All-Southeastern Conference selections. He helped the team reach three bowl games. Then he spent 13 years with the New England Patriots and won three Super Bowls.
Faulk started coaching after his playing career and eventually returned to LSU as the director of player development. He was elevated to running backs coach before the 2020 season, a role he held for two years. New coach Brian Kelly did not retain him, along with most of the previous staff.
“I was hurt,” Faulk said. “I'm human. We all human. I can understand certain things, but when you're hurt, you're hurt. It took a while. And it took a while to understand a lot of things.”
INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Faulk endured a long and painful year in 2021.
While much of Faulk’s future seems uncertain right now, he knows this much: He was one of 18 players and three coaches selected for the College Football Hall of Fame from a 217-person ballot. He became the 13th player or coach from LSU to be selected for the prestigious honor. And he will be inducted in December.
Able to draw on his college experience and long NFL career, Faulk believes he still has a lot to give as a coach. He intends to train players on the side, regardless of what he does next in his career.
But more than what he would like to do, he understands what he needs to do for himself and his loved ones.
“Be with my family,” Faulk said as tears welled in his eyes again. “Whatever job that may be going forward, it's going to pertain to being with my family a lot more.”