Wisconsin’s Troy Vincent is this year’s recipient of the Big Ten’s Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, while Iowa’s Chad Greenway will receive the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, the conference announced Wednesday. These awards recognize Big Ten football student-athletes who have achieved success in the areas of leadership and humanitarianism following their academic and athletic careers at a Big Ten university.
Vincent was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive back at Wisconsin from 1988-91, earning first-team All-America honors and sharing the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award in 1991 while also claiming All-Big Ten accolades twice.
Vincent went on to enjoy a successful career in the National Football League (NFL), playing 15 seasons for five clubs, including the Miami Dolphins, who chose him with the No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time All-Pro honoree, and has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame each of the past five years.
Off the field, Vincent played a significant leadership role with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) as the group’s president from 2004-08. He also became a national advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, resulting in his selection as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (chosen by the NFL commissioner and a select panel of judges) and the NFLPA Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year following the 2002 season.
In addition, Vincent and his family have been closely involved in numerous charitable organizations. They have also founded Love Thy Neighbor, a Foundation dedicated to fostering positive change in young people’s lives through character, athletics and academics.
Since his retirement, Vincent has remained active with the NFL, currently serving as the league’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Vincent also remains connected to the NFL’s Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program, which he helped form late in his playing career.
Greenway earned four letters as a linebacker at Iowa from 2002-05, earning All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2004 and 2005, as well as second-team all-conference plaudits in 2003. He was also instrumental in helping the Hawkeyes earn a share of Big Ten Championships in 2002 and 2004 and receive invitations to four bowl games, winning the 2004 Outback and 2005 Capital One Bowls.
After graduating from Iowa in 2006 with a degree in communications studies, Greenway spent 11 seasons in the NFL, all with the Minnesota Vikings, who selected him in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowl choice and a second-team All-Pro honoree in 2012, while also leading the National Football Conference (NFC) in combined tackles in 2010.
Greenway has been a fixture in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community throughout his professional career, a dedication that earned him the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award in 2015 and a nomination for that season’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
In 2008, Greenway and his wife, Jenni (a former track standout at Iowa) established the Lead The Way Foundation, offering daily support and life-changing experiences to chronically and critically ill and physically-challenged children in the Twin Cities area. Since its inception nearly a decade ago, the Lead The Way Foundation has raised more than $2 million in donations and assisted nearly 375,000 people in the Twin Cities through a variety of outreach programs.
The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Awards are part of the Big Ten’s annual 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 bigten.org.
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