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PROVO, Utah (June 19, 2003) -- Brigham Young University will honor former BYU All-American and NFL great Steve Young by retiring his No. 8 jersey during halftime ceremonies of the Cougars' season-opener (vs. Georgia Tech) on Aug. 28. During the ceremony, a banner with Young's name and jersey number will be unveiled and permanently displayed on the press box at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"Steve Young has set the high-water mark for all BYU football players," men's athletics director Val Hale said. "He was a consensus All-American, an Academic All-American, runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting, NFL MVP, and Super Bowl MVP. In addition to those impressive accolades, he has represented himself, the University and the LDS Church with class and dignity at all times. It is only fitting that he is the first of our football players to have his jersey number permanently displayed inside LaVell Edwards Stadium."
While two football numbers have previously been retired, (Eldon "The Phantom" Fortie [1960-62], who wore No. 40; and Marion Probert [1951-54], who wore No. 81) Young will become the first BYU football player to have his jersey retired. Banners honoring Probert, who was tragically killed in 1965 and Fortie, BYU's first All-American, will be unveiled later during the season.
"The entire halftime will be devoted to honoring Steve," Hale said. "I hope our fans will come out in force to honor one of BYU's best ambassadors, and to show their support and appreciation for all he has done over the years."
Young's jersey, not his number, will be retired. Future players may still have the option to wear No. 8. The criteria considered to retire a jersey includes the following:
First team All-American
Recipient of major national award
Minimum 15-year waiting period
Significant accomplishments after BYU graduation (athletics, community, church)
Faithful member of LDS Church or other religious affiliation
One of the greatest collegiate quarterbacks of all time, Young was consistently at the top of all the nation's statistical categories for quarterbacks. As a junior, he averaged 318.8 yards per game of total offense, earning All-WAC recognition and Conference Player-of-the-Year honors. One year later, he repeated as a first-team All-WAC selection, completed 306-of-429 pass attempts for an amazing 71.3 completion percentage. As a senior, Young led the nation in total yards passing (3,802), total offense (4,246) and touchdowns (33).
Few rival Young's career totals. He completed 592-of-907 attempts for 7,733 yards and 56 touchdowns. He recorded five miles of total offense in only 31 games (8,817 yards), ranking as one of college football's most impressive career performances.
Following his senior season, Young was selected as a consensus All-American, won the Davey O'Brien and Sammy Baugh quarterback awards, and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. In addition, Young was recognized by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as one of the nation's top scholar-athletes, and received an NCAA post-graduate scholarship in recognition of his academic success at BYU.
After graduating from BYU in 1983, Young became the first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Express in the USFL. He later played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 1987.
Throughout his 15-year professional career, he won three Super Bowl titles, including two as a back-up and one as a starter. He led the 49ers to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Charges in Super Bowl XXIX with a record six touchdowns to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. When his professional career was all said and done, he left the game as the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history, two league MVP Awards (1992-1994) and was the only quarterback in the league's history to win four straight passing titles.
"I think it is an extremely appropriate way to honor Steve," former BYU coach LaVell Edwards said. "I can't think of anyone who is more deserving. Everyone thinks he just picked up a ball one day and, all of a sudden, became a great player. To be honest, I don't think he threw 10 drop-back passes in high school. After arriving at BYU, he had to develop the ability to take the ball from under center, drop back, make decision and throw the football. Essentially, he started from scratch when he came to BYU.
"To go from learning how to take a snap, to becoming one of the greatest football players, of all time, both in college and in the pros, is a real tribute to Steve's character and dedication. He didn't become great overnight like people think. It took a lot of hard work. People don't realize how much time, effort and energy he put in to becoming such a great student-athlete. That type of dedication and commitment is the thing that Steve Young is all about, on the field and off. He works extremely hard at everything he does."
Since retiring from the NFL, Young has been inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame (2001), as well as the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame (1994). Later this summer, he will be inducted in to the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
To many however, Young will be remembered for much more than just his on-field heroics and incredible athletic accomplishments. He founded and chairs the Forever Young Foundation, which is actively involved in children's charities nationwide.
Recently, the Forever Young Foundation has focused on a project in two Children's Hospitals. Both The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University and Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City are the recipients of new, state-of-the-art, interactive recreational-therapy rooms called Forever Young Zones. These Forever Young Zones are equipped with computers and servers through a generous contribution from Sun Microsystems and will allow computer access and training for the children in these communities as well as the adults. These rooms are created with the intent to provide tools for exercising the imagination of children who find themselves away from home, facing the emotional and physical challenges that serious illness brings.
Additionally, Young's foundation has teamed up with NFL Charities to provide state-of-the-art technology rooms for the Youth Education Towns across the country.
Young has served as the international spokesperson and broadcast host for the Children's Miracle Network, which has raised over $1 billion dollars to benefit children's hospitals throughout the world.
Young has been a corporate spokesperson for high-profile companies such as Toyota, Marriott, ICON Health & Fitness, Visa, Nike, Sprint, PowerBar, and Sun Microsystems.
Currently, he is a Managing Director for Sorenson Capital, a new private equity investment firm, headquartered in Utah. Young is also a member of the Board of Directors of CRS Retail Systems, Inc., a board member for Foundry Networks, the former Chairman of the Board of Found, Inc., and is a partner in University Technology Ventures.
Young was also active with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, excelling as the Medals Plaza Volunteer Chairperson, and managing over 25,000 volunteers during the Olympics.
Recently, Young was appointed by President Bush as a member of the newly formed President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, designed to inspire Americans to volunteer and make a difference in their communities.
Young is also a member of the American Indian Services. He has also written a children's book entitled "Forever Young."
In addition to his many charitable and business ventures, Young has been the studio co-host of the Super Bowl XXXIV pre-game, half time and post-game show on ABC, as well as a popular studio analyst on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown TV series.
Young, a native of Greenwich, Conn., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983 and his Juris Doctorate degree in 1994 from Brigham Young University. Steve and his wife, Barbara, split their time between California, Utah, and Arizona. They are the proud parents of two sons, Braedon Steven, born on December 6, 2000 and Jackson Graham, born on March 2, 2003.
Written by BYU Athletic Media Relations