Athletics News

Former Irish Safety Dave Duerson Passes Away

Feb. 18, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Dave Duerson, a former record-setting University of Notre Dame football All-American, former member of the University's Board of Trustees and former president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club, died Thursday at his home in Miami, Fla. He was 50.

Duerson played for the Irish from 1979-82 -- starting at cornerback in seven games as a freshman in '79, at strong safety in '80 and '81 and then at free safety in '82. A native of Muncie, Ind., he was a tri-captain for the Irish as a senior in '82, earning team MVP honors from the Notre Dame Monogram Club. He was a first-team All-America pick as a senior by the Football Writers Association of America, Football News and College & Pro Football Newsweekly. As a junior in '81 he earned third-team All-America honors from Football News.

"Our hearts go out to the Duerson family and to all those who knew Dave," said Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick. "In addition to being a great football player, Dave represented himself and the University in so many other ways as a team captain, as well as through his work with the Monogram Club and the Board of Trustees. You couldn't help but be impressed by him when you met Dave Duerson, and I think that was the reaction from anyone who was ever around him."

Duerson made 63 tackles as a senior in '82 and led the team with seven interceptions. He also accounted for 55 tackles as a junior in '81, 34 as a sophomore and 24 as a freshman. He played more minutes than any other freshman in `79, led the Irish in punt returns that year with a 17.4-yard average and returned 103 career punts (still a Notre Dame record). He's second in Irish career punt return yardage at 869. He had 12 career interceptions for a record 256 yards, including a record-tying three in one game against Navy in 1982.

Duerson maybe was best known at Notre Dame for his late-game interception against Michigan in 1982 that preserved a 23-17 Irish win in the first night game ever played at Notre Dame Stadium.

A 1983 graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in economics, Duerson was selected the winner of the Edward "Moose "Krause Distinguished Service Award in 1990 by the Notre Dame Monogram Club. He's a past president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club and was a member of the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees from 2001-05. He received the Sorin Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association in 2001 and also served on the advisory council for the University's Mendoza College of Business.

Born Nov. 28, 1960, and listed at 6-3 and 202 pounds with the Irish, Duerson was a third-round draft pick of the NFL Chicago Bears in1983 and spent 11 seasons in the NFL. He played for the Bears from 1983-89, the New York Giants in 1990 and the Arizona Cardinals in 1991-93. He won Super Bowl rings with the Bears in 1986 and the Giants in 1991. He played in four straight Pro Bowls from 1985-88 and in 1987 was named the NFL Man of the Year.

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