Super Bowl Quarterback Drew Brees Was a Standout Little Leaguer before Turning to the Gridiron
Drew Brees, quarterback of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, showed poise and percision on the National Football League’s grandest stage, yet his trip to the NFL Championship has traveled many roads, including the Little League route.
Growing up in Austin, Texas, Mr. Brees was a hard-throwing pitcher and a stout hitter in Western Hills Little League (WHLL). He and his younger brother, Reid, were members of the WHLL Yankees.
As children, the Brees brothers were engrossed in sports, and benefited from parents who appreciated the value of sports beyond wins and losses.
Mr. Brees’s mother, Mina, was an all-state track, volleyball and basketball player in high school, while his father, Chip, played freshman basketball at Texas A&M University.
While developing into a standout player in Little League, Mr. Brees also displayed his athletic prowess in a variety of other sports. At the age of 12, he was the top-ranked tennis player in Texas.
That same year he set an Austin city record with 14 Little League home runs.
A few years later, Mr. Brees starred in three sports at Westlake High School: football, basketball and baseball, where he was a power-hitting infielder and a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher.
Mr. Brees attended Purdue University, and amassed a string of accomplishments and accolades on and off the football field.
Drew Brees, Quarterback of the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints, played Little League in Western Hills Little League in Austin, Texas.
Photo by Chris Graythen, Getty Images
A Heisman Trophy finalist in 1999 and 2000, Mr. Brees did not win the most prestigious award in college football, but he did receive the Maxwell Award as the nation's outstanding player in 2000, and was a finalist for The Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback in 1999 and 2000.
He ended his collegiate career as the Big Ten Conference’s all-time leader in passing yards (11,792), touchdown passes (90), total yards (12,693), completion percentage (.611), completions (1,026) and attempts (1,678).
As a senior, Mr. Brees was named Academic All-America Player of Year and was the recipient of Purdue’s Leonard Wilson Award for unselfishness and dedication. He also was honored as the first recipient of the Socrates Award, recognizing the nation's finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service. Mr. Brees completed his degree in industrial management and manufacturing in 2001, and graduated with a 3.4 GPA.
A veteran of nine NFL seasons, Mr. Brees arrived in New Orleans in 2006 as a free agent after being selected 32nd overall in the 2001 draft by the San Diego Chargers.
During his time in New Orleans, the Saints have steadily climbed up the ranks in the National Football Conference (NFC). This year, Mr. Brees guided the franchise to a 13-3 regular-season record, three playoff wins (the Saints collected only two playoff wins in their first 42 years), and its first Super Bowl championship in its first appearance.
Super Bowl 44's Most Valuable Player, Mr. Brees completing 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. During the 2009-10 season, Mr. Brees threw for nearly 4,400 yards and 34 touchdowns, completing more than 70 percent of his passes.
Mr. Brees and his wife, Brittany, are extremely active throughout New Orleans, with his Brees Dream Foundation, with the mission to provide care, education and opportunities for children facing adversity. His ongoing charitable efforts have raised funds for Operation Kids, and he also has held The Drew Brees Gridiron Classic for youth football teams, the “Brees on the Seas” youth deep sea fishing event off the Louisiana coastline, hosts an annual golf tournament that distributes money to children's causes in New Orleans and San Diego, rebuilt homes in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity, supported Children's Hospital in New Orleans and numerous other charitable endeavors.