by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
Rice will celebrate a milestone moment for Rice Athletics Hall of Famer O.J. Brigance on May 20 by hosting a pair of events as part of the Celebration of Courage: A Day Honoring O.J. Brigance. Brigance, who is currently in his 10th year of battling ALS, will be celebrated by a 1.57 mile walk at 9 a.m. around the concourse of Rice Stadium and later at the Celebration of Courage Reception at 6 p.m. in the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center. Both events will benefit the Rice University O.J. Brigance Courage Fund.
“According to the ALS Association, 10% of people diagnosed with ALS live 10 years or longer - so I can think of no other word then ‘blessed’ to describe how it feels to have my hometown and my alma mater supporting me around this milestone, and during ALS Awareness Month!” Brigance said. “I can’t thank the team at Rice University enough for putting together these events in my honor. My time at Rice, and growing up in Houston, truly shaped the person I am today, and for that I am grateful.”
Brigance was a two-time, All-SWC linebacker for Rice from 1987-90 and he remains the Owls’ career leader with 367 tackles. After he was bypassed in the NFL Draft in 1991 and took his NFL dreams to Canada where he became a standout in the CFL, eventually winning a Grey Cup title with the Baltimore Stallions in 1995.
He finally earned a spot on an NFL roster in 1996 with the Miami Dolphins. In 2000, he joined the Ravens and won a Super Bowl ring. He played two additional seasons for the St. Louis Rams. In 2004, he re-joined the Ravens as a member of the front office and won a second Super Bowl ring in 2013.
"I can't think of a better place to host this event than at Rice Stadium, the scene of so many of O.J.'s finest moments as a football player,” Rice head football coach David Bailiff said. “This is a chance for our fans to add to his legacy at Rice Stadium by packing the concourse for the walk and then selling out the Patterson Center that night."
The distance for the 1.57 Mile Championship Walk as chosen in recognition of the number Brigance wore while earning All SWC honors and becoming Rice’s career tackle leader. For a $30 registration fee, attendees can enjoy music by DJ Paki Nelson, Rice Alum DJ, snacks and water, music and games in the Kids’ Fun Zone as they honor O.J. Brigance with fun and fitness.
Tickets for the Celebration of Courage Reception are $75, provide access to delicious food and beverages, entertainment, a silent auction, and a program which include remarks from O.J. Brigance and recognition of all O.J. Brigance Courage Award winners from the last several years.
Fans can also attend both events for a flat fee of $100. All Tickets are available online
The O.J. Brigance Courage Award is given annually to the Rice University football player who best represents and demonstrates the combined qualities of teamwork, good character, work ethic, and courageous leadership which are the hallmarks of the athletic and professional career of O. J. Brigance.
After being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2007, and experiencing the financial, physical and emotional resources it takes to simply live each day with the disease, Brigance and his wife, Chanda, created the Brigance Brigade Foundation. The Foundation improves the quality of life for people battling ALS and their families by providing access to vital equipment, resource guidance and support services.