Happy birthday, Mike Singletary!
A generation ago, a young linebacker first made his name at Floyd Casey Stadium for hitting opponents so hard that he regularly broke helmets. The Houston native earned back-to-back-to-back All-America selections in 1978, ’79 and ’80, but somehow slid to the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft. Following a 12-year pro career, all in Chicago, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Today, that man — legendary Baylor Bear Mike Singletary, BBA ’83 — celebrates a birthday.
There’s not enough space on this blog to recount all of Singletary’s exploits, achievements and honors, but here’s a quick rundown: Three-time consensus All-Southwest Conference pick. Baylor’s first three-time All-American. Unanimous All-American in 1980. Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Decade for the 1980s. First-ever two-time Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy winner. Eight-time All-Pro. 10-time Pro Bowl selection. Two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Three-time UPI NFC Player of the Year. Named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1990. Inducted into the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame (1991), Texas Sports HOF (1995), College Football HOF (1995) and Pro Football HOF (1998).
After retiring, Singletary became an author and a sought-after speaker for two decades before returning to the game as a coach. He was an assistant in Baltimore and San Francisco from 2003-08, then led the 49ers as head coach from 2008-10. From 2011-13, he served as an assistant for the Minnesota Vikings, and since 2014, he has worked as a senior advisor in the NFL’s league office.
Sic ’em (and happy birthday), Mike!
[updated Oct. 2015]