Legends Luncheon honors defenders of the gridiron
Update: See video and photos from the 2019 Homecoming and Legends Luncheon below.
Arizona State University’s defensive gridiron greats will be honored at the Legends Luncheon the day before this week's Homecoming game, where the Sun Devils will take on the Oregon Ducks. The luncheon will celebrate ASU’s former student-athletes who played three years in the NFL, have been inducted into the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame or were named First Team All American during their time in college.
ASU’s football players and coaches will be honored at the event hosted by the ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 N. Third St. These defensive players have achieved numerous athletic accolades on the gridiron including Most Valuable Player, Pro Bowler and inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Players and coaches returning for the Legends Luncheon represent football teams from 1967 to 2007, including players from the 1969 WAC championship team, 1970 Peach Bowl team, 1987 Rose Bowl team and 1997 Rose Bowl team. Some of the more than 50 players returning for the event are Bob Breunig, Ron Brown, Curley Culp, Windlan Hall, Al Harris, Bob Kohrs, Nathan LaDuke, Ron Pritchard, Phillippi Sparks, Jeremy Staat and Darren Woodson.
Video by ASU
Former NFL and ASU wide receiver J.D. Hill, who played for the Sun Devils in 1967, 1968 and 1970, had this to say about the importance of football defense: “When it really gets down to it, it’s defense that really puts the game where it needs to be, especially to give you an opportunity to win. And without defense, you just can’t win.”
Former Dallas Cowboys and ASU quarterback, and current Sun Devil Athletics consultant and Sun Devil Club ambassador Danny White talked about some of the great ASU defensive players who went on to have successful careers in the NFL.
“All of the pressure or lack of pressure on the offense comes from the defense,” said White, who played for the Sun Devils from 1971 to 1973. “We had a defense that set the tone,” White said. “They flew around. They were physical. When you mention names like Breunig, Haynes, Pritchard and Culp, there’s one common denominator, and that’s 'tough.'”
Sun Devil Athletics Deputy Athletics Director Jean Boyd, who played for the ASU defense during the 1991–94 seasons had this to say: “They say offense wins games but defense wins championships. A great defensive player really is a comprehensive individual who understands the mind, body and spirit of the game and seeks to elevate themselves in all those areas to be the best that they can from a physical standpoint.”
Information about the Legends Luncheon can be found at alumni.asu.edu/legends.
More than 30 ASU Alumni Association chapter leaders from across the United States returned home to march in the Homecoming parade on Saturday in Tempe.Photo by Tim Trumble
Representing more than seven decades of Sun Devil football, more than 30 former defense players came back to be celebrated at Legends Luncheon: Defenders of the Gridiron on Friday and on the field during the Homecoming game on Saturday. The former student-athletes also signed autographs at the Block Party and participated in the Homecoming Parade.Photo by Tim Trumble
Trish Gulbranson, CEO of Derma Health Skin & Laser, was honored for serving as chair of the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors and National Alumni Council. JoAnn Holland, CEO of Central Phoenix Women, Women of Scottsdale, East Valley Women and North Valley Women, got the Homecoming Appreciation Award. Supporter Arthur “Art” Pearce II received the Homecoming Alumni Service Award.Photo by Tim Trumble
At Friday's Legends Luncheon, Bob Breunig — who played ASU football from 1971–74 — recounts some of the highlights from his collegiate and professional career on the gridiron. He played for the Dallas Cowboys for 10 years, during which time he played in three Super Bowls, including in 1978 when the Cowboys won.Photo by Tim Trumble
NFL Hall of Fame and College Hall of Fame inductee Curley Culp talks about playing two sports at ASU, football and wrestling. He is the 1967 NCAA heavyweight champion in wrestling. He also played 14 years in the NFL, during which time he was part of the Kansas City Chiefs when the team won Super Bowl IV.Photo by Tim Trumble
Darren Woodson, who played from 1989–91 at ASU, talks about the importance of the defense. He played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and is a three-time Super Bowl champ — XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX.Photo by Tim Trumble