Legendary Chicago Bears linebacker, Pro Football Hall of Famer
and XFL CHICAGO HEAD COACH!
IL, July 19, 2000 -- Vince McMahon, Basil DeVito and Ken Valdiserri
introduced Dick Butkus as the head coach of XFL Chicago today!
The Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker is the first head coach
hired by the eight-team league. "Chicago is one of America's
premier sports towns and richly deserves to have a head coach
of Dick's regional and national stature," said Valdiserri.
"We're thrilled to have one of professional football's most accomplished
all-time players taking the reins here in Chicago," said Ken Valdiserri,
VP/GM of the XFL-Chicago team. "Dick Butkus' personality and his
style as a player is what we're looking for in the XFL. Chicago
is one of America's premier sports towns and richly deserves to
have a head coach of Dick's regional and national stature."
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to return to the game of
pro football," said Butkus. "The XFL is going to be an extremely
competitive league. This is a unique challenge which I'm approaching
with the same amount of energy that I had during my playing days."
Born December 9, 1942, into a large Lithuanian family on Chicago's
southside, Butkus became obsessed with the idea of a pro-football
career while still in grade school. He devoted his entire adolescence
and young manhood toward achieving that goal. He chose his schools,
his summer employment and his friends with that in mind.
When it came to college, he selected the University of Illinois
because he liked the program that the new coach, Pete Elliot,
was organizing. The deciding factor, however, may have been one
of the few non-football considerations in his life. Because he
was contemplating marriage, he eliminated Notre Dame when he learned
that the school banned married players. Today, he and his wife
Helen, his high school sweetheart, live with their three children
in Malibu, CA. He will now have a part time home in Chicago.
It was inevitable that injuries would eventually challenge someone
who threw himself so completely into a contact sport such as football.
In Butkus' case, it was a right knee that was injured first in
1970. Off-season surgery was only partially successful and he
played in pain for the next two seasons. In 1973, for the first
time, Butkus took himself out of the game because the pain was
too great to bear. A few weeks later he walked off the field for
the last time. His accomplishments were prodigious and he was
elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Off the field, Butkus' football broadcasting career has included
roles as game analyst or commentator for University of Illinois
football, the New Orleans Saints, the Chicago Bears, ESPN and
NFL Today on CBS.
An accomplished comedic and dramatic actor, Butkus has appeared
in 13 major motion pictures and seven television series. Among
his television credits are over 20 episodic appearances in shows
such as The Rockford Files, Magnum P.I., Murder She Wrote, Saturday
Night Live and Coach. Butkus has also performed in over 200 television
The all-time great also gives considerable money and time to charitable
causes. Among many acknowledgements, Butkus has received the Lifetime
Achievement Award from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles
for his contribution to the community and profession.