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Duerson resigns from Board of Trustees

Heather VanHoegarden | Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Dave Duerson, the former Irish football All-American who recently resigned from the Board of Trustees, leaves a legacy of pointed public comments about events surrounding the Notre Dame football program.Duerson, who was charged with two counts of battery and two counts of domestic battery Monday after allegedly assaulting his wife Thursday, had been a University trustee since 2001 and the president of the Monogram Club since 2003. He resigned as a trustee Friday and will also resign his position in the Monogram Club, University spokesman Matt Storin said.It is unclear what Duerson’s future association with Notre Dame will be, Storin said. Duerson has been outspoken about Notre Dame football in the past year. Last spring, the Monogram Club wrote a response to a letter written by a group of Notre Dame alumni that criticized the way the football program was managed. In the letter written by the Monogram Club, the group claimed that the alumni letter should have never been released to the media because it hurt the University’s image, impeded the overall administration of the University and athletic department and negatively affected revenue resources.Duerson told The Observer in April that people needed to move on from Notre Dame’s 5-7 finish in 2003.”Every program has its ups and downs, but that is not indicative of the direction the program is heading” he said in the April 23 edition. “It’s time to move on [from the criticism]. Nobody is more upset about last year’s finish than those student-athletes and the coaching staff.”Duerson also responded to Notre Dame’s 1956 Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung’s comments about Notre Dame’s standards.”We can’t stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because gotta get the black athlete,” Hornung, who later apologized, told Detroit’s AM-1270 The Sports Station, an ESPN radio affiliate in March. “We must get the black athlete if we’re going to compete.”Duerson responded to Hornung’s comments by saying he should lose his job as a radio broadcaster for Notre Dame football. Hornung was later fired from his broadcasting position. Duerson spoke out most recently after Notre Dame football coach Tyrone Willingham was fired in November after a 6-5 season, describing a decision that was made with great “dissension.””With all the other things going on at the University, the least of the problems was wins and losses,” he told the Associated Press in December. “There’s greater dissension in some other things at the University that need to be corrected and dealt with.”Duerson, who now resides in Highland Park, Ill., was a two-time All-American defensive back at Notre Dame, where he played from 1979-1983, and still holds the all-time record for career interception yardage. He served as tri-captain of the 1982 Irish. He went on to win two Super Bowls in the NFL for the Chicago Bears (1985), and the New York Giants (1990). He earned four all-Pro honors in his 11 seasons with the Bears, Giants and Phoenix Cardinals.Duerson was also well-known in the league for his service activities. He was named the 1987 NFL Man of the Year and 1988 NFL Humanitarian of the Year for his work with substance abuse prevention and Special Olympics. Duerson also sponsored free football camps in Chicago and his hometown of Muncie, Ind., teaching fundamentals of the game and stressing the values of education and drug and alcohol prevention.After football, Duerson went back to school, graduating from the Harvard Business School’s executive education program in 2001. Duerson’s achievements then extended to the business world. He served as the majority owner, president and CEO of Fair Oaks Farms from 1995-2002, during which the company’s sales increased from $24 million to $63 million. His company, Duerson Capital Holdings, sold its interest in Fair Oaks Farms in February 2002. Following the sale, a partnership with Johnsonville Sausage, LLC was created, and the new Duerson Foods plant opened in April 2003.Duerson also served on the Mendoza College of Business executive board and is chairman of the Dave Duerson Foundation, which helps students who are pursuing entrepreneurial studies. Duerson’s term as the president of the Monogram Club would have ended in June, when Julie Doyle was slated to take office. He was the 1990 Monogram Club Member of the Year.

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Duerson resigns from Board of Trustees

Claire Heininger | Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Former Notre Dame football captain and two-time All-American Dave Duerson was charged Monday with assaulting his wife early Thursday morning at The Morris Inn, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. Duerson, a trustee since 2001, voluntarily resigned his post Friday and is also expected to resign as president of the Monogram Club, a two-year appointment that was set to expire in June, University spokesman Matt Storin said Monday.The prosecutor’s office filed two counts of battery and two counts of domestic battery, each a class A misdemeanor, against Duerson in the incident, which took place in room 236 at the Morris Inn at 1:45 a.m. Thursday, according to records on the Notre Dame Security/Police (NDSP) crime blotter. An accompanying blotter record of a theft in the same room at the same time refers to a piece of jewelry that was not accounted for when Duerson and his wife, Alicia Duerson, “both cleared out of the room,” NDSP director Rex Rakow said.Rakow declined to comment further on the incident, and Storin said he did not know any details about the nature of the argument. Alicia Duerson was treated at a local hospital and released, according to the prosecutor’s statement. The Duersons were staying on campus for the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees. Dave Duerson, who was a member of the Board’s Student Affairs Committee and Audit Committee, did not attend the trustees’ scheduled Thursday or Friday sessions.Dave Duerson released a statement to the South Bend Tribune Monday night through Mitch Rosen, who described himself as a family spokesman.”As with all people, we, too, are less than perfect human beings. This is a family misunderstanding which occurred in private and has already been resolved in private,” Duerson’s statement read. “It has brought us even closer together. Our attorneys are working with local officials to address their concerns. We ask that you respect our privacy, particular Alicia and our children, and ask for your agreement with us in prayer. I offer my sincere apologies.”The Observer was unable to reach Dave or Alicia Duerson for comment.Storin said that to his knowledge, Dave Duerson was not arrested, and added he did not know if the former Irish defensive back was brought in for questioning by NDSP or other police agencies. There is no record of Dave Duerson being booked at the St. Joseph County Jail, Deputy E. Brownbridge said. There were witnesses to the alleged crimes who gave statements to law enforcement officials, the prosecutor’s statement said, but Storin said he did not know the identities of the witnesses or how many were present.Morris Inn director William Beirne declined to comment.Storin said he did not know when Dave and Alicia Duerson left Notre Dame.Board chairman Patrick McCartan recognized Dave Duerson’s resignation Monday.”In view of the serious matter now confronting Dave Duerson, he has voluntarily resigned from the University’s Board of Trustees,” McCartan said in a statement. “We have accepted his resignation. Without prejudging any legal outcome, we believe this is the right decision, consistent with expectations for membership on the Board. Our thoughts are with everyone in the Duerson family during this difficult time.” University President Father Edward Malloy also issued a statement on Dave Duerson’s decision to resign. “It is regrettable but proper that Dave Duerson has resigned as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees,” Malloy said. “We are appreciative of his past service, but the circumstances in which he finds himself clearly make this the proper course of action. Our prayers are with Mrs. Duerson, Dave and the entire family.”It remains to be seen whether there will be any changes to the status of Dave Duerson’s other titles and awards at the University, Storin said. In 2001, Dave Duerson received the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Sorin Award, and has also served as a leading member of the athletic department’s mentoring program, according to und.com, Notre Dame’s official athletics Web site.Dave Duerson is also president, CEO and founder of Duerson Foods, LLC, and he and his wife are both on the company’s Board of Directors. Duerson Foods, LCC did not return calls seeking comment Monday.