Urlacher Pledges $500,000 to New Mexico Football Program
Jan. 29, 2009
Former University of New Mexico All-American and current Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher has announced a $500,000 cash gift to the UNM football program.
The field in the UNM indoor practice facility, which opened in August of 2007, will now be called Brian Urlacher Field.
Urlacher's gift will be paid annually over a 10-year period. The funds will go towards the maintenance and improvement of the indoor practice facility and the general operating budget of the Lobo football program.
This is the second major leadership pledge from a former UNM student-athlete in the past five months.
Last September, former men's basketball All-American Danny Granger also pledged $500,000 towards the renovation of The Pit. Granger, in his fourth season with the Indiana Pacers, is fifth in the NBA in scoring at 25.8 points a game.
Pledges from Granger and Urlacher will go towards the athletics department's Capital Campaign, titled the Lobo Leap to Excellence.
"Brian committed to this gift quite some time ago," said UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs. "The details were recently confirmed and we're ecstatic that he is making such a significant contribution to the Lobo football program."
"We are deeply indebted to Brian for the tremendous gift he has made to the UNM football program," said head football coach Mike Locksley. "Having it come from a former Lobo All-American makes it all the more special."
A native of Lovington, N.M., Urlacher is arguably the most decorated player in the history of Lobo football. After leading the nation in tackles (178) in his junior year of 1998, Urlacher was a consensus first team All-America in 1999 as a free safety. He finished his career third all-time at UNM with 442 tackles. As a senior, Urlacher saw situational duty at receiver, catching seven passes, six of those for TDs. He tied for the team scoring lead with 42 points and averaged 15.8 yards on 10 punt returns.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity the University of New Mexico gave me and this is one way for me to show my gratitude...Go Lobos," said Urlacher.
Urlacher was a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 2000 NFL Draft. The ninth selection overall, Urlacher was drafted higher than any Lobo before or after.
Urlacher has completed nine seasons with the Bears. The 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been selected to six career Pro Bowls while registering more than 1,000 career tackles.