Former Florida State and NFL standout Warrick Dunn is the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s 2016 “Man of the Year” award.
The Walter Camp “Man of the Year” award honors an individual who has been closely associated with the game of football as a player, coach or close attendant to the game. He must have attained a measure of success and been a leader in his chosen profession. He must have contributed to the public service for the benefit of his community, country and his fellow man. He must have an impeccable reputation for integrity and must be dedicated to our American Heritage and the philosophy of Walter Camp.
Dunn joins a distinguished list of former “Man of the Year” winners, including Roger Staubach (Navy), Gale Sayers (Kansas), Dick Butkus (Illinois), John Elway (Stanford), Jerome Bettis (Notre Dame), and last year’s recipients Fred Biletnikoff (Florida State) and Joe Andruzzi (Southern Connecticut).
“Warrick Dunn’s life story is one of tragedy, but also of triumph” said Foundation president Robert Kauffman. “His ability to persevere, succeed and ultimately, help others is inspirational and makes him a worthy Man of the Year recipient.”
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dunn was a scholastic standout at Catholic High School. During his senior year, his mother Betty Smothers, a police officer, was tragically killed while making a night deposit as an off duty officer. Dunn, just 18, became the head of his family and raised his siblings.
Dunn earned a scholarship to Florida State University, and proceeded to set several FSU school rushing records, including yards in a season (1,242 in 1995) and career yards (3,359). He was a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree. As a freshman, Dunn was a key member of the Seminoles’ national championship team in 1993, totaling 868 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns.
Dunn also was an accomplished sprinter on the FSU track & field squad, earned All-America honors as a member of the 4 x 100 meter relay team.
Dunn was a first-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 12th overall pick in 1997. He made an immediate impact, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He played five seasons with the Buccaneers and earned two Pro Bowl berths (1997 and 2000). He then played the next six years with the Atlanta Falcons and rushed for 1,000 or more yards three times. He signed with the Buccaneers in 2008, and retired following the season.
Dunn rushed for 10,967 yards during his professional career, and scored 49 touchdowns. His results on the playing field are impressive, and his efforts off the field are even more extraordinary.
In 1997, he established Homes for the Holidays, which rewards single-parent families for reaching first-time homeownership. In 2002, he started the Warrick Dunn Charities, which strives to improve lives through innovative ways. In 2007, Dunn was a founding member of Athletes for Hope, which is designed to help professional athletes develop their passion for philanthropy.
In 2004, he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, and received the Giant Steps Award in civic leadership by former President Bill Clinton. In addition he, was the 2010 Heisman Humanitarian Award recipient and was recognized with the Jefferson Humanitarian Award for Public Service. In 2008, Dunn told his extraordinary story in the book, Running for My Life. He currently resides in Atlanta.
Dunn, along with the 127th annual Walter Camp All-America team and other award winners, will be honored at the organization’s 50th national awards banquet on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. For more information, visit www.waltercamp.org
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 Man of the Year Recipients
2016 – Warrick Dunn, Florida State
2015 – Fred Biletnikoff, Florida State; Joe Andruzzi, Southern Connecticut State University
2014 – Jerome Bettis, Notre Dame
2013 – Matt Millen, Penn State
2012 – Herm Edwards, San Diego State
2011 – Harry Carson, South Carolina State
2010 – Will Shields, Nebraska
2009 – John Elway, Stanford
2008 – Morten Andersen, Michigan State
2007– Dick Butkus, University of Illinois
2006 – Mike Utley, Washington State
2005 – Dwight Stephenson, Alabama
2004 – Anthony Munoz, Southern California
2003 – Ozzie Newsome, Alabama
2002 – Jim Kelly, Miami (Fla.)
2001 – Mike Singletary, Baylor
2000 – Howie Long, Villanova
1999 – Gil Brandt, Dallas Cowboys
1998 – Lou Holtz, Kent State University
1997 – Calvin Hill, Yale
1996 – Lynn Swann, Southern California
1995 – Reggie Williams, Dartmouth
1994 – Dick Anderson, Colorado
1993 – Warren Moon, Washington
1992 – Bob Griese, Purdue
1991 – Mel Blount, Southern
1990 – Nick Buoniconti, Notre Dame
1989 – Paul Brown, Miami (Ohio)
1988 – Andy Robustelli, Arnold
1987 – Levi Jackson, Yale
1986 – Willie Davis, Grambling
1985 – Ricky Bleier, Notre Dame
1984 – Don Shula, John Carroll
1983 – Roger Staubach, Navy
1982 – Merlin Olsen, Utah State
1981 – Otto Graham, Northwestern
1980 – Gale Sayers, Kansas
1979 – Jack Kemp, Occidental
1978 – Floyd Little, Syracuse
1977 – Fred Dunlap, Colgate
1976 – Edward Krause, Notre Dame
1975 – Pete Dawkins, Army
1974 – Jake Gaither, Knoxville College/Florida A&M
1973 – Duffy Daugherty, Syracuse/Michigan State
1972 – Clinton Frank, Yale
1971 – Doc Blanchard, Army
1970 – Harry Kipke, Michigan
1969 – Pete Rozelle, San Francisco
1968 – Ted Blair, Yale
1967 – Hamilton Fish, Harvard