Former All-Pro NFL Quarterback Career Highlights: Mark Rypien is a two-time National Football League Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl MVP who played for 12 seasons …He is the first Canadian born quarterback to start in the NFL…Rypien enjoyed his best years playing for the Washington Redskins for seven seasons from 1987 to 1993…He led the team to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons (1990-92) …Rypien pioneered the Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XXVI by passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills where he was named the game’s MVP…His style of play made him a great pick for the “All-Madden Team” in 1991…Rypien finished his career with stints with the Cleveland Browns (1994), St. Louis Rams (1995 and 1997), Philadelphia Eagles (1996) and after three seasons away joined the Indianapolis Colts (2001)…Rypien completed 1,466 of 2,613 passes for 18,473 yards and 115 touchdowns, with 88 interceptions in his career…While in college at Washington State, he was named All-Pac 10 first-team quarterback in 1984…Rypien’s proudest golf moment was winning the inaugural Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe in 1990 on rounds of 78-71-72…His other top finishes include third (2004), fourth (2007), fifth (2005), sixth (1999) and eighth (2008)…He won the 2003 Kiawah Island Pro-Celebrity Challenge with partners Hank Kuehne and Billy Joe Tolliver …Introduced to the game by his father, Bob, at age 10, Rypien began playing the game seriously his first year in the NFL…Rypien had a brief stint in NASCAR racing as a team owner, and was the original owner of the 2004 Sprint Cup championship-winning #97 team, having sold it to Jack Roush Jack in 1998.
Head Football Coach and Executive V.P. of Football Operations
Washington Redskins Career Highlights: Mike Shanahan was named the Head Coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Washington Redskins in January 2010…After a year off, Shanahan had completed his 26th season in the NFL coaching ranks and his 14th and final as head coach of the Denver Broncos…He led the Broncos to back-to-back victories in the Super Bowl in 1998 and 1999, including the thrilling 31-24 victory over the favored Green Bay Packers in 1998 …During his NFL career, Shanahan has been a part of teams that have played in 10 AFC or NFC Championship games, in addition to his six Super Bowl appearances (five with Denver, one with San Francisco)…Shanahan joined the exclusive club of head coaches to post 100 wins in the first 10 seasons with one club… He is the first coach in history to win two Super Bowl titles in his first four years coaching a team…Shanahan posted the most wins in pro football history in a two-year period (33 in 1997-98) and in a three-year period (46 in 1996-98)…He won the most postseason games in history over a two-year period (seven, 1997-98) and also won 18 straight games over 1997-98 to tie the all-time NFL record for consecutive wins…Shanahan went to Denver in 1995 from San Francisco, where he served as offensive coordinator and helped lead the 49ers to victory in Super Bowl XXIX…He is the only coach to have directed two different teams to a 500-point season (the 1998 Broncos scored 501 points, and Shanahan’s 1994 San Francisco offense scored 505)…He also held early coaching stints at Florida, Minnesota, Eastern Illinois, Northern Arizona and Oklahoma… Shanahan attended Eastern Illinois University, where he was quarterback until he lost a kidney in the spring game of his junior year, which began his coaching career a year earlier than expected…He is best known and recognized for his superb organizational skills, as well as his imaginative offense…He co-authored a motivational book during the 1999 off-season – “Think Like a Champion: Building Success One Victory At a Time.”
University of South Carolina Career Highlights: Steve Spurrier is one of the most successful collegiate coaches of all time…He has coached a national championship team, won seven Southeastern Conference titles, and won nearly three-fourths of his college games coached…Spurrier is starting his 20th collegiate season, sixth season as Head Coach at the University of South Carolina…Throughout his collegiate career he has compiled a 177-68-2 (.721) record, including a 35-28 mark at South Carolina…Spurrier made his college head coaching debut with Duke Blue Devils in 1987 and led them to the 1989 Atlantic Coast Championship before returning to his alma mater, the University of Florida in 1990…In 12 years at Florida, Spurrier’s teams won seven Southeastern Conference championships, one national title (beat Florida State in 1996) and finished ranked in the nation’s top 10 nine times… Spurrier amassed an incredible 122-27-1 (.817) record at Florida... Prior to South Carolina, Spurrier was head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins (2002-03) and returned to the college coaching ranks after a one-year absence on the sidelines…Not expected to have a winning season in his first year at South Carolina in 2005, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a five-game SEC winning streak including historic wins at Tennessee and against then 12th ranked Florida…He was named SEC Coach of the Year by Associated Press…That season, he led the 7-4 Gamecocks to the Independence Bowl, where they lost to Missouri… In 2006, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to an 8-5 record and a win over Conference USA champion Houston in the Liberty Bowl….His 2007 squad got off to a quick start with wins over SEC rival #11 Georgia, as well as beating then undefeated #8 Kentucky, and climbed to #6 in the National and BCS rankings before stumbling down the stretch…With a 7-6 record in 2008, Carolina returned to a New Year’s Day bowl for the first time since the 2001 season…The Gamecocks followed that with another 7-6 record in 2009, their sixth consecutive non-losing season…Spurrier won the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 1966 after serving as Florida’s starting quarterback for three seasons…He was a First-Team All-American in 1965 and 1966…Spurrier was a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1967 and played 10 NFL seasons including a stint with Tampa Bay…His first head coaching position was with Tampa Bay of the USFL.
All-Pro Wide Receiver
New England Patriots Career Highlights: One of the most effective young wide receiver threats in the NFL, Wes Welker of the New England Patriots was named to his second straight Pro Bowl this past season and was also a First-team All-Pro selection…Welker finished first in the NFL with 123 receptions in 2009, a Patriots single-season record that eclipsed the 112 catches he had in 2007…Welker broke the 100-reception milestone for the third straight season after catching 112 passes in 2007 and 111 in 2008, joining only four other players with that milestone…He also set a career-high with 1,348 yards receiving ….Welker and teammate Randy Moss became the first Patriots players to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons and just the sixth pair in NFL history to have three straight 1,000 yard seasons…A six -year player, Welker has played for the San Diego Chargers (2004), Miami Dolphins (2004-2006) and the New England Patriots (2007 to present) …Welker is one of only two players in NFL history to ever have converted a field goal, converted an extra point, recorded a tackle, and fielded a punt and kickoff return all in the same game…Welker holds several all-time records for the Patriots and Dolphins franchises…He is the Dolphin’s all-time kickoff return leader, both in total returns and yardage, and their all-time leader in total punt returns (he is second in yardage)…Welker holds the three highest single season reception totals in Patriots history…In the 2007 season, he set the then Patriots franchise record for catches with 112, and tied Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh for most receptions that NFL season too…Welker also set an NFL record for most catches in a first season with a new team…He finished the season with 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns and was voted to his first AP All-Pro Team (second team)…In his first two post-season games, Welker had 16 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns…He tied a Super Bowl record of 11 receptions in a single game in the Patriots’ 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII…In the 2008 season, Welker became the first player in Patriots history, and the eighth in NFL history, to have back-to-back 100-reception seasons when he had 111 catches (he has since add a third 100-reception season in 2009)…In addition to the 2008 Pro Bowl honor, Welker has received other accolades including being a two-time All-Pro selection (2007, 2008), 2008 Pop Warner Inspiration to Youth Award honoree, and the 2007 New England Patriots 12th Player Award winner…Welker was a four-year letterman and three-time All-Big 12 Conference First-Team choice at Texas Tech… He finished his career with 259 receptions for 3,069 yards and 21 touchdowns, 559 yards rushing and a touchdown on 79 attempts and 152 punt returns for 1,761 yards (11.6 average) and eight touchdowns…Welker’s reception and receiving yardage totals are school career records…He left Texas Tech as the NCAA career record-holder for punt return yards, as well as the single-season holder for returns (57 in 2002)...Welker has established the “83 Foundation” to provide underprivileged children in his hometown of Oklahoma City the opportunity to play football.
Arizona Cardinals Career Highlights: As Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals for the past three seasons, Ken Whisenhunt compiled a 27-21 record, won two NFC West titles and had a Super Bowl appearance…The Cardinals have had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 1975 and 1976 seasons winning 13 of 18 NFC West games…In 2009 the Cardinals won 10 games for the first time since 1976 – with six of those wins coming on the road, the most since 1963….Whisenhunt led the team to its first Super Bowl in franchise history in February 2009, his second season with the team…In one of the most exciting games in recent history, the Cardinals fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final minute of the game 27-23…Whisenhunt became a head coach for the first time when he was hired by Arizona on January 14, 2007…In his first season the Cardinals showed improvement by finishing 8-8 after finishing 5-11 the previous two seasons…Last year, in his second season they finished 9-7 and won the NFC West Division championship, the Cardinals’ first division title since 1975 and the club’s first playoff berth in 10 years… After defeating Atlanta and Carolina in the first two rounds of the NFC Playoffs, the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl for first time in franchise history…Whisenhunt came to the Cardinals with 10 years of experience as an NFL assistant coach…He began his coaching career at Vanderbilt University, where he coached special teams, tight ends and the backs from 1995-96… In 1997 Whisenhunt returned to the NFL as tight ends coach for the Baltimore Ravens followed by stints with the Cleveland Browns in 1999 and the Jets the following season…Whisenhunt then spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, first as tight ends coach and then as the offensive coordinator…He played an integral role in the Steelers Super Bowl victory in 2006… Whisenhunt was drafted in the 12th round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons out of Georgia Tech…He went on to play nine NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons (1985-88), Washington Redskins (1989-90), and the New York Jets (1991-93)…In 74 career games (37 starts), he caught 62 passes for 601 yards and six touchdowns…As a walk-on in college at Georgia Tech, Whisenhunt finished his college career ranked second on the Yellow Jackets receiving yardage list (1,264 yards) and fourth in career receptions (82)…He was a consensus All-ACC and honorable mention All-America selection as a senior in 1984 when he averaged 19.1 yards per catch.
NFL Head Coach
Kansas City Chiefs Career Highlights: Todd Haley brought an energetic and passionate approach to his first season as Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs…Haley enters his 16th season in the NFL in 2010…Haley joined the Chiefs after a two-year stint as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals (2007-08) …During his tenure with the Cardinals, he helped revitalize a franchise that hadn’t reached the NFL title game since 1947…In just his second season in Arizona, the Cardinals enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, winning the club’s first division title since 1975 and also had a sensational postseason run, reaching Super Bowl XLIII thanks in large part to Haley’s explosive offensive unit…Under Haley’s guidance, the Cardinals offense in 2008 was one of the league’s most innovative and explosive units… Arizona tied for third in the league in scoring, registering a franchise-record 427 points (26.7 points per game) and fourth in total offense, averaging 365.8 yards per game…Arizona was second in the league in passing offense and ranked sixth in the NFL with 20.5 first downs per game… In 2007 the Cardinals ranked fifth in the league in passing and set a single-season franchise record with 32 touchdown passes… Arizona was also second in the NFL with a 94.0 Red Zone scoring percentage…In addition to his tenure with the Cardinals, Haley enjoyed previous NFL coaching experience with Dallas (2004-06), Chicago (2001-03) and the New York Jets (1997-2000), earning playoff berths with each of those franchises…He joined Ken Whisenhunt’s staff in Arizona after serving a three-year stint as passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach for Dallas (2004-06)… In 2006, the Cowboys offense ranked fourth in the NFL in passing as quarterback Tony Romo became a Pro Bowl performer in his first year as a starter and Dallas qualified for the postseason …Haley’s passing attack helped the Cowboys finish fourth in the league in scoring and second in third-down efficiency at 48.8%...Haley joined the Cowboys after three years as wide receivers coach for Chicago (2001-03)... In 2001, the Bears went 13-3 and won the NFC Central for the first time since 1990 as wide receiver Marty Booker set a single-season franchise record with 100 catches…Under Haley’s tutelage in 2002 Booker became just the second player in franchise annals to post back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, becoming Chicago’s first Pro Bowl wide receiver since 1971… Haley’s initial NFL experience came with the New York Jets (1995-2000), where he served as that club’s wide receivers coach from 1999-2000… Haley also worked as an offensive assistant/quality control coach for the Jets (1997-98)…He began his NFL tenure as an assistant in the Jets scouting department in 1995, where he scouted regionally and assisted in player evaluations.
Head Football Coach
Career Highlights: Brian Kelly is starting his first season as Head Coach of the University of Notre Dame…Kelly is a veteran of 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach -- and most recently the architect of two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances at the University of Cincinnati, including a perfect 12-0 regular season in 2009 that earned him national-coach-of-the-year honors… Currently he is the sixth-winningest active coach in the NCAA football in terms of winning percentage at .747 (he ranks seventh in victories at 171)…Kelly's head coaching resume includes three seasons at Cincinnati from 2007-09, including a 34-6 record (.850) and two straight outright Big East Conference title teams that earned BCS appearances in the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl and the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl… Kelly's 2009 team at Cincinnati finished third in the final BCS standings and fourth in both the final regular-season Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls… Prior to Cincinnati, Kelly spent three seasons at Central Michigan University from 2004-06, including a 19-16 overall record (.542) featuring a 9-4 mark and Mid-American Conference title in 2006…Prior to that he spent 13 seasons at Grand Valley State University from 1991-2003, including a 118-35-2 record (.767) highlighted by NCAA Division II national championships in 2002 (14-0) and 2003 (14-1)….Kelly currently has an overall record of 171-57-2 (.747) in his 19 seasons as a head coach….Kelly has many other honors including earning the ESPN/Home Depot National Coach of the Year Award in 2009, the Big East Conference Coach of the Year honor in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (the first time a Big East football coach has won the award three straight years) -- and he received the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year Award in both 2002 and 2003…In 2009, he also was a finalist for four other national awards - the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award (Football Writers Association of America), Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award (National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association), Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award and the George Munger Coach of the Year Award (Maxwell Football Club)…Kelly boasted a 2-1 record at Cincinnati in postseason bowl games - including a 27-24 win over Western Michigan in the International Bowl after the 2006 season, a 31-21 win over Southern Mississippi in the Papajohns.com Bowl after the 2007 season and a 20-7 loss to Virginia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl after the 2008 campaign…Kelly's 2006 Central Michigan team finished 9-4 and qualified for the Motor City Bowl where they defeated Middle Tennessee 31-14 -- and his 12-0 team in 2009 earned an Allstate Sugar Bowl assignment against once-beaten Florida…In six NCAA Division II playoff appearances at Grand Valley State, Kelly's teams combined for an 11-4 (.733) postseason record - including four straight victories in winning both the 2002 and 2003 NCAA titles…His 2001 Grand Valley State team fell 17-14 to North Dakota in the Division II national title game. ..Kelly joined the Grand Valley State staff in 1987 as a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach…He became the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 1989 and took over (at age 28) as head coach in 1991…His very first team finished 9-3 and qualified for the NCAA playoffs…In 2009 Kelly was inducted into the Grand Valley State Athletics Hall of Fame.