Chad Hennings

Chad William Hennings (born October 20, 1965) is a former American football defensive tackle for the Air Force Academy Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. He won the Outland Trophy in his senior year of college in 1987.

Despite facing an obligation to enter the Air Force upon graduating the Academy, Hennings was selected in the eleventh round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Cowboys, and played in the National Football League from 1992 to 2000, winning three Super Bowls.

Chad Hennings
refer to caption
Hennings at a speaking engagement
No. 95
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born:October 20, 1965 (age 53)
Elberon, Iowa
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:291 lb (132 kg)
Career information
High school:Van Horne (IA) Benton Co.
College:Air Force
NFL Draft:1988 / Round: 11 / Pick: 290
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:119
Games started:72
Fumble Recoveries:6
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early years

High school and college

While at Benton Community High School in Van Horne, Iowa, Hennings became an All-state football tight end and the state heavyweight wrestling champion his senior year.[1]

After being offered full scholarships from different universities he chose to attend the United States Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs. Lettering as a freshman in 1984, he started his college football career as a tight end before being switched to the defensive line as a sophomore.

Air Force Academy great Chad Hennings
Hennings at Air Force

Hennings was moved to defensive tackle in his sophomore season, became a starter and made the All--WAC second team. That 1985 season was the greatest in Air Force history as the Falcons went 12-1, were conference co-champions, defeated Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and placed fifth in the final coaches poll. During his junior year in 1986, he became a dominant defensive player, was named to the first of two All-Conference teams, the first of two Academic All-American teams and the second of three Academic All-WAC honors.

His senior year in 1987, he led the nation with 24 sacks, was a unanimous first-team All-American selection, received the Stan Bates Award as the conference's top scholar-athlete, earned defensive player of the year honors from the Western Athletic Conference and the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman. He also played in numerous postseason all-star games including the Japan Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game.[2]

Hennings is a member of the Western Athletic Conference all-time team and was named WAC defensive player of the decade for the 1980s. He was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, and was in the inaugural class of the Air Force Academy Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame.


After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in June 1988, Hennings entered undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base, in Wichita Falls, Texas, as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program conducted by the 80th Flying Training Wing. ENJJPT is an elite program, and when his ground training studies faltered (he had been an honor student at AFA), his squadron commander isolated him from all contact regarding the Dallas Cowboys, who had drafted him in April 1989. After UPT, Hennings completed Lead-In Fighter Training and because of his size, was eligible only for F-111, F-15 Eagle, or A-10 Thunderbolt II RTU. He became an A-10 pilot and was assigned to the 92d Tactical Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing based at RAF Bentwaters in the United Kingdom, in June 1990.

While with the 92d TFS, Hennings deployed twice to the Persian Gulf. From April to June 1991, and October 1991 to January 1992, based at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Henning flew 45 A-10 missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort, an effort that helped provide relief and humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq. He was twice awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, a humanitarian award and an Outstanding Unit Award for his actions in the service. He was promoted to captain on June 1, 1992.[3]

Football career

Because of his military commitment (originally 8 years because he chose to fly), he dropped in the 1988 NFL Draft until the Dallas Cowboys took a chance and selected him in the eleventh round, with no indication of an early out from the Air Force. President and general manager Tex Schramm had also secured his rights by signing him to a multi-year contract with a $25,000 bonus in 1988.[4]

After the 1991 Gulf War, the United States military underwent an across the board reduction in budget and Hennings was able to have the remaining four years of his active-duty commitment (service academy and rated pilot) waived, which was unprecedented at the time. He continued service in the Air Force Reserve for nine years as a liaison officer to the Air Force Academy after his separation from active duty, then went into the Individual Ready Reserve.[5]

While entering into the NFL, there were some rumors about the Cowboys trading him to the Denver Broncos, but when Jimmy Johnson saw his workout for the team, those plans were canceled.

In 1992, he left the U.S. Air Force and joined the Dallas Cowboys as a 26-year-old rookie, playing on special teams and quickly becoming a key reserve, on one of the best defensive line rotations in the NFL.[6]

In 1995, he registered his first starts while Leon Lett was serving a four-game suspension. The next year, he replaced Russell Maryland who left via free agency to the Oakland Raiders.

While his play on the field was very good, it was his attitude, character and leadership that was also valuable to the Cowboys teams of that decade, contributing to the top ranked defenses of the early nineties and winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years.

He spent nine seasons with the team, before retiring after missing half of the 2000 season with injuries. He finished with 27.5 sacks, 6 fumble recoveries and one touchdown in 107 games.

Personal life

Hennings is married and has two children. Following his football career, Hennings became a Christian motivational speaker and author. His self-help book for men, "Rules of Engagement: Finding Friendship, Faith, and Strength in a Disconnected World" was published in 2009.

In November 2012, Hennings was named as a 2013 recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented each year to six distinguished former college student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the completion of their college sports careers.[7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2015-11-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^
  4. ^,2497054
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2014-12-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^
  7. ^ "NCAA announces Silver Anniversary Award winners" (Press release). NCAA. November 8, 2012. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.

External links

1985 Air Force Falcons football team

The 1985 Air Force Falcons football team represented the United States Air Force Academy in the 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Falcons came within one victory of playing for the national championship. After beating the Texas Longhorns in the Bluebonnet Bowl, the Falcons ended the year 12-1 and ranked #5 in the country.

1986 Air Force Falcons football team

The 1986 Air Force Falcons football team represented the United States Air Force Academy in the 1986 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was led by third-year head coach Fisher DeBerry and played its home games at Falcon Stadium. They finished the season with a 6–5 record overall and a 5–2 record in Western Athletic Conference games.

1987 Air Force Falcons football team

The 1987 Air Force Falcons football team represented the United States Air Force Academy in the 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Falcons offense scored 405 points while the defense allowed 269 points. At season's end, the Falcons appeared in the 1987 Freedom Bowl. In the Ram–Falcon Trophy match, the Falcons beat the Colorado State Rams to win the trophy. Air Force also won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, emblematic of beating both Army and Navy.

1987 College Football All-America Team

The 1987 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1987. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1987 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA); (4) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (5) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC). Other notable selectors included Football News the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Scripps Howard (SH), and The Sporting News (TSN).

1987 Freedom Bowl

The 1987 Freedom Bowl was a college football postseason bowl game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Air Force Falcons.

1988 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1988 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League. They failed to improve on their 7–8 record from 1987, finishing at 3-13 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Also this was the final year for Cowboys head coach Tom Landry.

1997 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1997 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 38th season in the National Football League and was the fourth year under head coach Barry Switzer. The team failed to improve on their 10-6 record from 1996 and suffered a losing season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990, due to this they lost their last five games and finished at 6–10.

1998 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1998 Dallas Cowboys season was the Cowboys' 39th season in the NFL. Team owner Jerry Jones would hire former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to be the fourth head coach of the Dallas Cowboys franchise.

Air Force Falcons football

The Air Force Falcons football program represents the United States Air Force Academy in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) level. Air Force has been a member of the Mountain West Conference since its founding in 1999. The Falcons play their home games at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Troy Calhoun has been the team's head coach since 2007.

The three major service academies—Air Force, Army, and Navy—compete for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which is awarded to the academy that defeats the others in football that year (or retained by the previous winner in the event of a three-way tie).

Air Force Falcons football statistical leaders

The Air Force Falcons football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Air Force Falcons football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Falcons represent the United States Air Force Academy in the NCAA's Mountain West Conference.

Although Air Force began competing in intercollegiate football in 1955, these lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1955, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972, allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002. The Falcons have played in nine bowl games since this decision, giving recent players an extra game to accumulate statistics.The values on these list are often smaller than the values seen on other programs' lists for several reasons:

Air Force has only played since 1955, making it a relatively new college football program.

The Air Force Academy is a four-year undergraduate program, so it does not redshirt players. This means that for a player to play for four years, he must be good enough to see the field as a true freshman. Relatively few players are prepared to do this, which depresses career records.

Air Force has run a triple option offense since the arrival of head coach Ken Hatfield in 1978. This offense emphasizes running over passing. Most passing records were established in the 24-year period before this time.These lists are updated through the end of the 2018 season.

Antonio Anderson (American football)

Antonio Kenneth Anderson (born June 4, 1973) is a former American professional football defensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) and the XFL. He played for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL and the Memphis Maniax of the XFL. Anderson played college football at Syracuse University.

Gil Brandt

Gil Brandt (born March 4, 1933) is a former Vice President of player personnel in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1988. He is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin.


Hennings is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Chad Hennings (born 1965), American football defensive lineman

Emmy Hennings (1885–1948), German performer and poet

Ernest Martin Hennings (1886–1956), American painter, member of Taos Society of Artists

Rouwen Hennings (born 1987), German football player

Andrew Hennings and Kate Hennings, fictional characters

Hurvin McCormack

Hurvin Michael McCormack (born April 6, 1972) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. He played college football at Indiana University.

Iowa Sports Hall of Fame

The Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, honors outstanding athletes and sports contributors. To be eligible, members must have either been born in Iowa or gained prominence while competing for a college or university in Iowa.

Leighton Housh, former executive sports editor of the Register, established the Hall of Fame in 1951. Twenty-four athletes were chosen in the inaugural class. The Hall of Fame now includes more than 170 athletes from 20 sports. Inductees are chosen by veteran members of the Register's sports department.

Ray Childress

Raymond Clay Childress, Jr. (born October 20, 1962) is a former American football defensive tackle in the NFL for the Houston Oilers and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Texas A&M University.

Silver Anniversary Awards

The Silver Anniversary Awards are given each year by the American National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to recognize six distinguished former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary as college graduates. The Silver Anniversary Awards were first given in 1973, when five distinguished former student-athletes were honored. In 1986, the number of annual honorees was increased to six.

In order to be eligible, the nominee must be a college graduate and a varsity letter-winner at an NCAA member institution and must have achieved personal distinction since his or her graduation. The selection criteria are weighted 40 percent to the nominee’s status as a prominent collegiate athlete and 60 percent to the nominee’s career achievement.

UPI Lineman of the Year

The United Press International Lineman of the Year award was given annually by United Press International (UPI) to the lineman of the year in college football. With the demise of UPI in 1997, the award was discontinued. Offensive and defensive linemen were eligible, including offensive ends, with one, Howard Twilley, winning in 1965. Like all UPI college awards at the time, it was based on the votes of NCAA coaches. Ross Browner of Notre Dame was the only two-time winner.

Special teams

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