Nov. 21, 2012
Park Ridge, Ill. - Michigan's Jon Runyan was honored with the Big Ten's Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, while Ohio State's Chris Spielman was named the recipient of the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, the conference announced on Tuesday. The awards recognize Big Ten football players that have achieved success in the areas of humanitarianism and leadership after their college careers have ended.
A first-team All-Big Ten offensive lineman, Runyan sits on the U.S. House of Representatives (R-N.J.) and currently serves on the Tactical Air and Land, and Readiness subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee. The former All-American was also actively involved in several community service initiatives during his NFL career, including the New Jersey Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Runyan also served on the Board of the Alzheimer's Association of the Delaware Valley and hosted the "Score for the Cure" Golf Tournament to benefit prostate cancer research in New Jersey. A member of Michigan's 1993 Rose Bowl winning team and a 14-year NFL veteran, Runyan played in two Super Bowls and started 207 NFL contests in his career, including 192 consecutive games.
The Buckeyes' all-time leader in solo tackles, Spielman, along with his late-wife Stefanie, formed The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research in 1999, which has raised more than $11 million for cancer research. Spielman, along with his wife, also established Stefanie's Champions to recognize one of the most critical factors in surviving cancer - loving, unwavering support. A two-time All-American and the 1987 Lombardi Award recipient, Spielman was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Selected in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, Spielman appeared in four Pro Bowls and is the Lions' all-time leader in tackles. He retired from the NFL in 1999 to take care of his wife and their four children and remains committed to her legacy of hope and finding a cure for cancer.
"I am truly honored to receive the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award," Spielman said. "Like every award, it would not be possible without the help of many people. I promised Stef that I would `Continue to Fight' and that's what we will continue to do."
The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian awards are part of the Big Ten's enhanced awards program. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan's Gerald Ford and Iowa's Nile Kinnick. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota's Tony Dungy and Indiana's Anthony Thompson. For more information on these awards, including biographical information on the namesakes, visit www.bigten.org.