LEXINGTON – Virgil Livers is doing plenty of celebrating these days.

On June 30, he’ll officially retire from 34 years in education – the last 19 as an assistant principal at Bowling Green High School.

On Friday night, Livers was honored for his career before working in the school system.

Six total seasons in professional football wasn’t so bad for the “country boy” from Fairfield who played one year of high school football and earned a walk-on spot at Western Kentucky before becoming an All-American.

The former Chicago Bears cornerback whose No. 24 WKU jersey hangs retired by the school was among the five former professionals inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2017 at the Lexington Opera House on Friday.

Livers, a fourth-round pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, played for Chicago until 1979 and totaled 12 interceptions and had two touchdown runs. He also played two seasons for the USFL’s Chicago Blitz in 1983-84.

“It’s been a lot of fun just thinking about what’s going to happen and what others are doing for me and guys like me as far as what we’ve done in our lives and careers,” Livers said. “For the state of Kentucky to recognize athletes who played college in Kentucky, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit lately, and I’m really honored to be in this position.”

Others inducted were former University of Louisville players Ernie Green (Cleveland Browns running back 1962-68) and William Gay (Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback); University of Kentucky’s Todd Perry (Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins offensive lineman 1993-2003); and Holy Cross football coach Bruce Kozerski (Cincinnati Bengals center 1984-95).

Livers joins former WKU players Dale Lindsey and Romeo Crennel as those in the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both Lindsey, head coach at FCS San Diego, and Crennel, an assistant head coach for the NFL’s Houston Texans, were in attendance Friday.

Former teammate and coworker through Bowling Green Independent School District Joe Tinius presented Livers at the Hall of Fame induction.

As an All-American who played at WKU from 1971-74, Livers still holds four school records – 28 years later – as a punt return specialist: returns in a season (50), net yards in a game (145), season (545) and touchdowns in a season (3).

He helped WKU win two Ohio Valley Conference titles and was the 1974 OVC Defensive Player of the Year.

“You do things in life where you don’t know what the ending is going to be, but to have something like this is really beautiful and really great,” Livers said. “To have a football coach from a university who is now deceased (Jimmy Feix), to give a country boy a chance to play college football who only played one year of high school football, I look back on my career and that’s what stands out.”

Livers will officially retire at the end of the month with over three decades of working in education behind him. He started out at Warren Central High School when he retired from professional football in 1985. He became Greenwood’s first head football coach for four seasons when the school opened in 1990.

The theme of Livers’ message during his induction speech centered around giving back, something he’s strived to do in Warren County ever since Feix gave him a chance to join WKU’s football team in 1971.

“I wish that a lot of young kids could really see that you can do anything you want to do and all you need is a little help and a little encouragement and support from family, friends, coaches, teachers and administrators, which is what I had,” Livers said. “I had those people who saw something in me that I did not see in myself. It’s about them being there and encouraging me, and it really made a difference. I took hold of it and ran away with it.”

WKU quarterback Mike White, safety Marcus Ward, defensive end Derik Overstreet and cornerback Joe Brown are Hilltoppers named to the Collegiate All-Commonwealth Team. Bowling Green High School alum and current Centre College quarterback Devin Hayes was also named to the All-Commonwealth Team.{&end}

{em style=”font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;”}{/em}{em style=”font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;”}Follow sports reporter Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com{/em}

Covering the Western Kentucky University athletics beat for the Bowling Green Daily News.