Nov. 27, 2013
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Former Purdue All-American quarterback Drew Brees today was named recipient of the Big Ten Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award for 2013.
A two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honoree and Heisman Trophy finalist, the 2000 Maxwell Award recipient and 2001 Big Ten Medal of Honor winner founded the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003. The organization has committed and/or contributed more than $17 million to charitable causes and academic institutions in the New Orleans, San Diego and West Lafayette, Ind., communities.
A co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition since 2010, Brees was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2006 and the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2010. He became one of the many faces of the New Orleans community following the Hurricane Katrina tragedy by establishing numerous charitable foundations to help the area in its recovery.
In 2007, Brees and his wife, Brittany, made a $2 million gift to Purdue to enhance the student-athlete academic support service area, which now is known as the Drew and Brittany Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center. Renovated as part of the Mackey Complex project, the academic support space increased from 6,500 to 11,000 square feet.
Brees, whose name appears on the Big Ten's Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year trophy, guided the Boilermakers to a Big Ten championship in 2000 and their first Rose Bowl Game berth since 1967. He holds virtually every conference passing record. Over the course of his career from 1997 to 2000, he completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 11,792 yards with 90 touchdowns and 45 interceptions.
But there has always been more to Brees than gaudy statistics. At Purdue, he was the ultimate student-athlete, majoring in industrial management, and was extremely generous with his time in the community. Among his honors, certainly the most fitting was the inaugural Socrates Award, presented in January of 2000, recognizing the nation's finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service. He was the 2000 Academic All-American of the Year and recipient of a 2000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award.
Selected in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, Brees played five seasons with the San Diego Chargers before moving to New Orleans in 2006, winning Super Bowl XLIV and being named the game's Most Valuable Player. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl participant. Brees set NFL season records with 5,476 passing yards and a 71.2 completion percentage in 2011. He ranks fifth in career passing yards with 49,566, trailing Brett Favre (71,838), Peyton Manning (63,209), Dan Marino (61,361) and John Elway (51,475).
The Big Ten also announced that Michigan State's Gene Washington was honored with the Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian and Ford-Kinnick Leadership awards recognize Big Ten football players that have achieved success in the areas of humanitarianism and leadership after their college careers have ended. They are part of the Big Ten's annual awards program. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota's Tony Dungy and Indiana's Anthony Thompson, while the Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan's Gerald Ford and Iowa's Nile Kinnick. For more information on these awards, including biographical information on the namesakes, click here.
Indiana's George Taliaferro was the inaugural recipient of the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award in 2011, followed by Ohio State's Chris Spielman last year.
A native of Austin, Texas, the 34-year old Brees was back at Purdue last Saturday for the Boilermakers' game against Illinois.