NEW HAVEN, CT – 1987 All-American defensive tackle Chad Hennings (U.S. Air Force Academy) is the recipient of the 2014 Walter Camp “Alumni Award.” Hennings joins a distinguished list of former “Alumni Award” winners, including Alan Page (Notre Dame), Bo Jackson (Auburn), Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh), Herschel Walker (Georgia), Mark May (Pittsburgh), Derrick Brooks (Florida State) and last year’s recipient Ken Huff (North Carolina).
The Walter Camp “Alumni of the Year” award is bestowed on a worthy individual who has distinguished himself in the pursuit of excellence as an athlete, in his personal career and in doing good works for others. He must be an individual who has exhibited dedication and good moral conduct in achieving success. He must be a compassionate and unselfish person who contributes his time and assistance in helping to encourage and comfort fellow human beings less talented and less fortunate than himself. He must be an individual who takes pride in having been a Walter Camp All-American.
“We are elated to recognize Chad Hennings with the Walter Camp Alumni Award,” Foundation president James Monico said. “Chad exemplifies the words leadership, character and commitment.”
Raised in Iowa, Hennings was a scholastic football and wrestling standout at Benton Community High School. Heavily recruited, he chose to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. After starting his collegiate career as a tight end, he moved to the defensive side of the ball and became a three-year starter and a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference honoree. He helped Air Force capture the 1985 WAC title, a Bluebonnet Bowl victory and a final number five national ranking.
In his senior year in 1987, he led the Falcons to a Freedom Bowl berth and led the nation with 24 quarterback sacks. For his efforts, Hennings was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and earned consensus All-American honors, including a spot on the Walter Camp team. He also won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman. More impressively, Hennings was the recipient of the Stan Bates Award as the WAC’s top scholar-athlete. With a cumulative 3.6 GPA as a management major, Hennings found his name on the Superintendent’s List seven of eight semesters.
Later, Hennings was voted as the WAC defensive player of the decade for the 1980s.
Following his graduation from the Academy, Hennings entered pilot training and graduated from the Euro-NATO joint jet pilot and lead-in fighter training programs. He served 45 missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort in Iraq and earned three aerial achievement medals. He was promoted to the rank of captain on June 1, 1992.
Hennings was drafted in the 11th round (Pick 290) in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. His Air Force military commitment lasted four years, and he joined the Cowboys in 1992 as a 27 year old rookie. He would spend nine years with the Cowboys, contributing to one of the top-ranked defenses in the NFL and winning three Super Bowls in four years. For his career, he amassed 28 sacks in 107 career games. During his nine years as a professional football player, he continued his military service in the Air Force Reserve.
In 2004, Hennings was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, and was in the inaugural class of the Air Force Academy Athletics Hall of Fame (2007). In November 2012, Hennings was named as a NCAA Silver Anniversary Award recipient.
Active on several charities, Hennings and his wife Tammy have two children. He serves as president of Hennings Management Corporation, a marketing consulting company based in Dallas area. He also is a popular motivational speaker and author.
In addition to Hennings, the Foundation will honor Jerome Bettis (Man of the Year) and the 125th annual All-America team at the organization’s national awards banquet on Saturday, January 17, 2015, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. The Foundation is offering a “Holiday Ticket Promotion” for the National Awards Dinner. Buy two tickets for $450 (you save $150) before December 31. Please call (203) 288-CAMP (288-2267) for more information.
Walter Camp, “The Father of American Football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.
Walter Camp Alumni Award Recipients
2014 – Chad Hennings, U.S. Air Force Academy
2013 – Ken Huff, North Carolina
2012 – Derrick Brooks, Florida State
2011 – Chris Spielman, Ohio State
2010 – Tedy Bruschi, Arizona
2009 – David Fulcher, Arizona State
2008 – Tim Brown, Notre Dame
2007 – Ray Guy, Southern Mississippi
2006 – Mike Rozier, Nebraska
2005 – Cornelius Bennett, Alabama
2004 – George Rogers, South Carolina
2003 – Mark May, Pittsburgh
2002 – Dave Casper, Notre Dame
2001 – Herschel Walker, Georgia
2000 – Don McPherson, Syracuse
1999 – Bo Jackson, Auburn
1998 – Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh
1997 – Jim Plunkett, Stanford
1996 – Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
1995 – Jim Covert, Pittsburgh
1994 – Ed Marinaro, Cornell
1993 – Archie Griffin, Ohio State
1992 – Kellen Winslow, Missouri
1991 – Steve Owens, Oklahoma
1990 – Thomas L. Jackson, Louisville
1989 – Dr. Tom Casanova, Louisiana State
1988 – Alan Page, Notre Dame
1987 – Mike Reid, Penn State
1986 – Joe Greene, North Texas