The Legacy of Tim Hall

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Photo by RMU Athletics

Tim Hall rushes the ball for Robert Morris.

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

It has now been 23 years since Tim Hall was taken from the world far too soon following being cut by the Oakland Raiders after the 1998 season. While the case remains unsolved, his legacy nevertheless prevails at Robert Morris as perhaps one of the greatest players to ever don the red, white and blue.

Hall, who torched defenses during his time as a Colonial, was the first player to ever be drafted out of Robert Morris by an NFL team and the first to make his NFL debut, both coming during the 1996 season as a member of the Raiders. To this day, he is still the only RMU draft pick.

His final NFL statistics will always feel incomplete: 26 rushing attempts, 127 yards and one reception for nine yards. People often what could have been for Hall, who was murdered before he could choose where he could play next.

Just how transcendent was Hall during his time as a Colonial? The accolades and numbers give a great look into how good of a player he was, but there was a lot more to his RMU career than just that.

Hall captivated Moon Township in his two years in the program, setting and maintaining all the rushing records that currently stand at the school. Not only are his 2,908 rushing yards a record, but his 1,572 in 1995 are the single-season record. He averaged 8.7 yards per carry in 1995, establishing an FCS record, and his career average of 7.4 was also an FCS record.

Named an NCAA I-AA All-American in 1995 by the Associated Press, Hall is all over the single-game record books as well. His 278 yards against Bethany on 11/5/94 is the school record, and of the top fifteen rushing performances in a single game in school history, Hall claims seven of those spots.

To put that in perspective, Hall is one of two Robert Morris players to rush for 200 yards more than once. While Myles Russ did it twice in 2008, Hall did it SIX TIMES.

That performance against Bethany came in a stretch of three games where he had 199 or more rushing yards, notching 214 against Bethany on 11/4/95, 278 against Bethany on 11/5/95 and 199 on 11/12/95 at Mercyhurst, combining for nearly 700 rushing yards in two weeks.

Hall was a force on the receiving side as well, notching just under 800 yards for over 3,000 all-purpose yards during his two seasons here. He was truly exceptional.

The late head coach Joe Walton was instrumental in getting Hall to Robert Morris and the NFL. Talking to the Beaver County Times in 2014, he commented on how surprised he was when Hall came to the school.

“He was a big-time college player,” Walton said. “He should’ve been in a major school. I don’t know how we got him.”

While there were no scouts headed to a school in its fledgling stage as a football program, Walton still had contacts in the NFL. He reached out to Ralph Cindrich, who helped Hall get on the draft radar, and the rest is history.

Drafted in the sixth round by the Oakland Raiders in 1996, Hall deserved that chance and made the most of it, becoming the first and only RMU player to be drafted in the NFL.

To this day, he is one of three RMU players to make it to the highest league, doing so in 1996– followed by Hank Fraley in 2001 and Robb Butler in 2004.

Tim Hall Raiders
Tim Hall with the Raiders. (Photo by Oakland Raiders)

After two seasons with the Raiders, he was shirked from the roster in 1998 and was in the process of working out with teams and deciding where he was going to play next. Marty Schottenheimer, then the head coach of the Chiefs, was extremely excited about Hall and believed he would have been a good fit on the roster.

Unfortunately, his life was taken far too early, shot and killed by an unknown assailant while on a grocery run in Kansas City.

Robert Morris retired his #45 shortly thereafter and he was inducted that same year into the RMU Athletics Hall of Fame.

While it is a shame his career will forever be surrounded by what-ifs and feel incomplete, we can relish in what he did do while he was around at RMU and in the NFL and look back on the legacy he left behind.