Griese, Shinsky honored by Big Ten

Published 9:12 am Sunday, November 29, 2015

ROSEMONT, Illinois — Michigan’s Brian Griese was named the recipient of the Big Ten’s Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, while Michigan State’s John Shinsky was honored with the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, the conference announced on Tuesday.

The awards recognize Big Ten football players that have achieved success in the areas of leadership and humanitarianism after their college careers have ended.

Griese has displayed a knack for leadership in all facets of life, guiding teams to championships on the field and founding numerous charitable organizations and events. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Griese led Michigan to an undefeated season and national championship in 1997. Drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, he earned a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos during his 11-year career. While a member of the Broncos, Griese founded Judi’s House in 2002 in honor of his late mother who succumbed to breast cancer when he was 12 years old. The mission of Judi’s House is to help grieving children and their primary caregivers in the Denver area.

Through the Judith Ann Griese Institute, the organization has expanded its reach by developing a curriculum that can be shared around the country. Griese is also one of the founders of the Griese, Hutchinson and Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts golf weekend. Established in 2007, the event benefited the capital campaign for construction of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. Griese, who was honored with the Big Ten’s Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award last season, becomes the first individual to earn both accolades.

Shinsky was a three-year letterwinner for the Spartans from 1970-73, earning Academic All-America recognition and second-team All-Big Ten honors in 1973. Since then, he has established himself as a selfless humanitarian. In 2005, he broke ground on Ciudad de Niños, “The City of the Children,” an orphanage in Matamoros, Mexico. In 2007, Shinsky biked from East Lansing, Mich., to Mexico to raise funds for the orphanage. The current home to nearly 40 children provides education, training and opportunities that enable children to grow into caring, productive members of society that give back to their community as adults. For his efforts with Ciudad de Niños, Shinsky received the Duffy Daugherty Award in 2005, named in honor of Michigan State’s legendary coach that has been presented annually since 1975 to a Spartan football alumnus who has distinguished himself both on and off the field following his graduation.

Prior to founding the orphanage, Shinsky served as the Director of Special Education for the Lansing School District from 1981 until 2000.

The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian awards are part of the Big Ten’s annual awards program. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan’s Gerald Ford and Iowa’s Nile Kinnick. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota’s Tony Dungy and Indiana’s Anthony Thompson. For more information on these awards, including biographical information on the namesakes, visit


Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award Recipients:

  • 2011: Archie Griffin, OSU
  • 2012: Jon Runyan, MICH
  • 2013: Gene Washington, MSU
  • 2014: Mike Hopkins, ILL
  • 2015: Brian Griese, MICH


Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award Recipients:

  • 2011: George Taliaferro, IND
  • 2012: Chris Spielman, OSU
  • 2013: Drew Brees, PUR
  • 2014: Brian Griese, MICH
  • 2015: John Shinsky, MSU