Dr. Jim Kovach Inducted to Academic All-America Hall of Fame

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Dr. Jim Kovach, former University of Kentucky linebacker, has been inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

The presentation was made Tuesday in San Francisco, Calif., during the annual convention of the sponsoring organization, the College Sports Information Directors of America.

The Hall of Fame is for student-athletes who earned Academic All-America recognition during their collegiate years, have excelled in their professions and have made substantial contributions to their communities.

Kovach played at UK from 1974-78 and still ranks as the leading tackler in UK history with 521 stops.  He was a member of the Kentucky team that won a share of the 1976 Southeastern Conference championship and shut out North Carolina in the '76 Peach Bowl.  A three-time All-SEC selection, he became the first player in modern NCAA history to attend medical school while playing major-college football.  He also received the NCAA Top Five Award and an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.

After being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1979, he played seven seasons in the National Football League with the Saints (1979-85) and San Francisco 49ers (1985).  He was the Saints' leading tackler from 1981 to 1984 and was named the team's most valuable player in 1983.  He was selected to the Saints' 20th Anniversary Team.  

Among the Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductees were a pair of college and NFL standouts - Dewey Selmon and Dr. Jim Kovach.

Kovach continued to attend UK Medical School during the NFL off-seasons and completed his medical degree in 1984.  He added a law degree from Stanford University in 1990.  Currently, he is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Buck Institute of Age Research, the only independent institute dedicated to research on aging and age-associated disease.

Dr. Kovach has been active in local and regional community services throughout his business career, with a focus in the area of education, health and aging.  He has been active with the Marin County School-to-Career Partners, the NFL Retired Players Association, the Consortium for Translational Research in Advancing Imaging and Nanomedicine while serving as an adjunct professor at Dominican University of California.  Dr. Kovach also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Aging Research and the North Bay Leadership Council.

(From left) Tom Hansen, winner of the Dick Enberg Award, and the 2010 class of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame - Dewey Selmon (Oklahoma), Dr. Jim Kovach (Kentucky), Anita DeFrantz (Connecticut College) and Adonal Foyle (Colgate).

Previous honorees in the Academic All-America Hall of Fame have included notables such as basketball star/Senator Bill Bradley, football star/actor Merlin Olsen and football star/Supreme Court Justice Byron "Whizzer" White.  This year's induction class features Kovach, current NBA player Adonal Foyle (Colgate University), Dewey Selmon from the University of Oklahoma and Anita DeFrantz of Connecticut College.