Warrick Dunn was born on January 5, 1975 and is a former NFL running back that played in the league for twelve seasons. Growing up at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Warrick showed his football versatility playing quarterback, cornerback and running back. In his second year he helped lead Catholic High to the state 4A championship game for the first time in the school’s history. As a senior, Dunn was an All-American honorable mention selection by USA Today. While the future was looking as bright as ever for Warrick, on January 7, 1993 Dunn’s mother Betty Smothers (an off-duty police officer) was escorting a local businesswoman to a bank for a night deposit when she was ambushed and killed by cowardly armed robbers. Two days after his 18th birthday Warrick became the head of his family and raised his four siblings.
Warrick committed to play college ball at the Florida State University and holds several Florida State rushing records including most career rushing yards (3,959) and most rushing years in a season (1,418). Dunn was a three time All-ACC selection and is the only FSU Seminole to rush for over 1000 years in three consecutive seasons. His hard work paid off in 1993 was rewarded with a National Championship for FSU. In the 1997 NFL Draft, Warrick was drafted 12th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his storied college football career. Dunn was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 and went on to earn three Pro Bowl selections in his twelve seasons of pro ball. After leaving the NFL, Dunn has not slowed down in any of his professional pursuits since leaving football.
Dunn established the Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program early in his career in 1997 and started Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC) in 2002. The long-running HFTH program has done an amazing job of rewarding single-parent families for reaching first-time homeownership. Through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the HFTH families are chosen and the WDC contributes home furnishing, furniture and any down payment assistance. As of the summer of 2012, the HFTH has helped over 115 single parents and over 300 dependents in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tampa and Tallahassee. Warrick Dunn Charities mission believes that children can thrive educationally, socially and economically by providing families with a positive and healthy home environment.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Warrick Dunn has done a tremendous amount of giving back to his community. He was the recipient of a Giant Steps Award in civic leadership from former two-term President Bill Clinton for his wildly successful programs. In 2005, Warrick was presented with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. This award named after the late Chicago Bears running back is the only NFL sanctioned award that recognizes a player for both his community service and his performance on the field. Most recently Warrick wrote a revealing autobiography called “Running for My Life” about his rise above the odds and his personal bouts with depression after losing his mother to such a tragic crime.