The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Mellody Hobson

President of Ariel Investments, one of the largest African American-operated capital management firms in the world, Mellody Hobson was born April 3, 1969, in Chicago. Hobson is the youngest of six children, who range from nine to twenty-five years older than her. After graduating from St. Ignatius College Preparatory in 1987, Hobson attended Princeton University, where she received a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations in 1991.

While in college, Hobson interned at Ariel Capital Management and T. Rowe Price Associates, both investment firms. Upon graduation, she took a position with Ariel, overseeing client service and taking part in strategic planning. In 1994, Ariel broke off from its parent company, the Calvert Group, and assets dropped by $100 million. Since then, however, things have been up for Hobson and Ariel. Hobson has risen to become president of Ariel, and the firm now manages $10 billion in assets.

Hobson is regularly featured on Good Morning America and can be found on the ABC News Web site as a regular contributor. She also makes regular appearances on CNN and WGN-TV's Minority Business Report. Unbroke:What You Need to Know About Money, the first television show created and hosted by Hobson aired on May 29, 2009. She serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Public Education Fund, the Chicago Public Library and the Field Museum, among many other civic organizations. Hobson also serves on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Princeton, and on the Board of Directors of Tellabs, Inc. Ebony named her one of the 30 Leaders of the Future and Crain's Chicago Business has listed her as one of its annual 40 Under 40. At the 2001 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Hobson was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow.

Accession Number

A2003.177

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/5/2003 |and| 2/10/2004 |and| 6/28/2004

Last Name

Hobson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Princeton University

St. Ignatius College Prep

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Mellody

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HOB01

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Carol Mackoff

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

Kill And Drive On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/3/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spinach

Short Description

Investment chief executive Mellody Hobson (1969 - ) was the president of Ariel Investments. She was a financial contributor to Good Morning America, and the creator and host of the television special Unbroke: What You Need to Know About Money.

Employment

Florida State University

Ariel Capital Management Company

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:9450,82:13130,237:13770,444:17050,664:28542,862:35346,989:47415,1141:93930,1792:94750,1804:99178,1901:102294,1949:104918,2005:105246,2060:105738,2067:106066,2072:118894,2228:121234,2268:122794,2311:123340,2324:124588,2343:135720,2440$0,0:1596,19:8400,114:11928,174:12516,182:14448,217:33095,521:33569,528:38546,593:39889,664:45814,775:47236,824:60045,953:63330,1034:65228,1080:66761,1111:68586,1150:68878,1155:73331,1243:73915,1252:74207,1257:78222,1329:78587,1336:79463,1348:80558,1369:80996,1378:81434,1385:90064,1436:93016,1525:98018,1828:145650,2478:145970,2502:147010,2527:147330,2532:158671,2624:160962,2698:164517,2819:180056,2998:180360,3003:207368,3515:210032,3556:213200,3731:222560,3895:233008,3986:235380,4087
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mellody Hobson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson talks about her mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson recalls her earliest memory of her grandfather's funeral

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson explains how her mother got involved in real estate

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson describes her relationship with her older siblings and nieces

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson describes her experience at William B. Ogden Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mellody Hobson talks about encountering racism as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mellody Hobson describes the neighborhood she grew up in Chicago, Illinois' Gold Coast neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mellody Hobson describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Mellody Hobson explains her mother's influence

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Mellody Hobson talks about learning from her siblings' lives and reading biographies

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson recalls transformative early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson talks about going to work with her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson recalls her teachers at William B. Ogden Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson recounts her experience winning a district-wide school speech contest in sixth grade

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson talks about her early experiences in radio and television

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson explains how she decided to attend Saint Ignatius College Prep high school in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson describes her experience at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson remembers her Kairos retreat during her time at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mellody Hobson reflects on her education at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson recalls her early interest in news and world events

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson describes the approach to controversial issues at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson remembers Harold Washington's election and death

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson explains how she decided to attend Princeton University in New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson explains how she decided to attend Princeton University in New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson recalls her first impressions at Princeton University in New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson recounts overcoming an early academic challenge at Princeton University in New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson remembers meeting Nelson Mandela on a college trip to South Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Mellody Hobson's interview, session two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson describes her how her perspective changed after visiting South Africa in 1991

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson recalls her internship at Ariel Capital Management in 1989

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson recounts the early years of Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson talks about interning at T. Rowe Price Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson explains how her studies led to working in the investment management business

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson details the work involved with Marketing and Client Services for Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson remembers meeting Richard "Dick" Parsons

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson recalls disappointing business meetings

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Mellody Hobson talks about the challenges that Ariel Capital Management faced in the 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Mellody Hobson talks about her career focus and the support she received from HistoryMaker John Rogers, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson talks about the support she's received from others

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson details her career progression at Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson describes the challenges Ariel Capital Management faced when it separated from the Calvert Group, Ltd.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson talks about Ariel Capital Management's contrarian strategy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson elaborates on the decision to split from the Calvert Group, Ltd.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson shares the lessons she learned from Ariel Capital Management's partnership with the Calvert Group Ltd.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson reflects upon lessons she learned during challenging times at Ariel Capital Management, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson discusses the competition that faced Ariel Capital Management during its early years

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson recalls Ariel Capital Management winning key accounts in 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mellody Hobson talks about her promotion to senior vice president within Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Mellody Hobson's interview, session three

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson explains how Ariel Capital Management emerged from the difficult period of the mid-1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson lists key people and their roles within Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson explains the origin of Ariel Capital Management's turtle mascot

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson explains the philosophy that Ariel Capital Management's mascot represents

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson talks about her strengths and approach to work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson reflects upon lessons she learned during challenging times

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson talks about Ariel Capital Management's steadfastness in the face of radical economic changes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson lists the writers who influenced Ariel Capital Management's philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson talks about Ariel Capital Management's selection of clients

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson explains how Ariel Capital Management evaluates its prospective investments

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson explains the work involved in portfolio management

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson explains the difference between value investing and growth investing

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson talks about her ability to communicate complex concepts

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson reflects on how writing and research developed her skill set

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson recalls an ad featuring Ariel Capital Management's diversity

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson discusses the response to Ariel Capital Management's ad featuring its diversity

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Mellody Hobson talks about Ariel Capital Management's sponsorship campaigns

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Mellody Hobson talks about creating an investment market for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson details her duties as the unofficial "chief-of-staff" at Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson reflects on lessons she learned about effective management

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson remembers campaigning for former senator Bill Bradley

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson reflects on the lessons learned from political campaigning

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson lists the dates for the Hoopla events

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson recalls joining MBR: Minority Business Report

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Mellody Hobson shares her disappointment about former Senator Bill Bradley losing the presidential nomination

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Mellody Hobson talks about how she joined 'Good Morning America'

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Mellody Hobson shares the lessons she learned from Diane Sawyer

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Mellody Hobson explains how she became president of Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Mellody Hobson talks about the changes that occurred when she became president of Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Mellody Hobson discusses her plans for Ariel Capital Management

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Mellody Hobson describes the challenges that come with the pursuit of success

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Mellody Hobson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Mellody Hobson describes how she believes others will perceive her life

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$5

DAStory

10$9

DATitle
Mellody Hobson talks about encountering racism as a child
Mellody Hobson recalls Ariel Capital Management winning key accounts in 1997
Transcript
Do you remember an incident where you felt that you were mistreated you know like that with, you know at birthday parties or kids' homes?$$You know in my--I think in the beginning you're--you know kids are just kids and I don't remember anything being inappropriate because my mother [Dorothy Brown] sometimes would just not let me go. And I would be like, no they're the nicest people. You know I'd be begging, tears streaming down my face, that sort of thing. But she was just always very cautious. But then also I do remember as I got older, sort of seventh, eighth grade, there being issues. I remember one friend, who was a very close friend, telling me that her parents didn't want her playing with me anymore because I was black. And I couldn't like--in Chicago you know metropolitan city you know people were really smart. I couldn't even believe that this would be the perspective of parents, you know it just seemed to me to be really, really goofy. So that is something that I do remember from that time. But they never said anything to me. They didn't mistreat me, anything like that. And then I remember when we were little I told you we sort of just would just run around. And there'd be places where we would go like if we were in Water Tower Place [Chicago, Illinois] you know where you could just kind of tell people were sort of either watching you funny or treating you funny. And it always was--I was very attuned to it and I always pay attention to my environment. And I remember once being in Lord & Taylor and I was just walking through the store and to cut through to go somewhere else. And I must have been like ten or eleven years old and I was with one of my nieces and I saw someone shoplifting. And I remember going up to the sales person, I said that person just shoplifted. And I remember my mother, I went home and I was so proud of myself and she was insane. She's like don't ever do anything like that again because she was worried the person would see that I turned them in and do something to me, you know things like that. And I remember the woman who I told she was just sort of like taken aback that this little black kid was coming up to her telling her something like that. So you know yes you know part of life in being a black person in America is knowing that everything doesn't always go perfectly and people have stereotypes or a point of view that does not reflect reality.$So you come out of this period about 1997 you said 19--$$Yeah, exactly.$$--okay, 1997. And what is the key thing that took you out? Were there, was it--do you remember the account that you got or--?$$I remember two things.$$Okay.$$If I say overall what got us through it, we did not change our investment strategy. The worst thing you can do is then change your investment strategy during a period of poor performance. Managers who become weathervanes just get whipsawed so we just stuck with our conviction and that worked beautifully for us because all the stocks that had been the ones that had done so well ended up suffering a really tough period and our quality wonderful consistent businesses were the ones everyone knew you could count on. Smuckers Jelly is not going away but how many dot-coms did, right? So that was number one. The other thing that helped us get through it is our team stayed in tact. We had no turnover. Our senior people stuck it out. All of our people stuck it out. We were all owners of our business and we were vested. We had a vested interest in the success of the entire enterprise. So when people saw this team is just there. They're not going anywhere. They're not going to better offers or anything like that. That really proved a lot to our customers. Account specifically that I remember, I remember when we got hired by United Airlines sort of at 1995, during the middle of the difficult period. And I remember [HM] John [Rogers, Jr.] and I went and pitched United, their head of pensions, Dave Dykstra at the time. And I remember he had called with some follow up questions. And he said--oh I remember in the meeting he said you know "I'm looking at these numbers and I'm wondering why should I hire you?" And I said to him and John was even kind of surprised. He looked at me kind of crazy. And I said "if I could jump over this table and grab you by the lapels and pull you towards me and convince you why we will be successful I would. But I know that's not appropriate." And he was like stunned. I said we're going down with the ship. I said "we are not giving up on this business," and they hired us. And it was, you know the--we ended up being one of their best performing managers because they did what we do, they bought a manager when it was out of favor just like we buy stocks when they're out of favor. Buy low, sell high. You know it's a platitude but very hard to practice in theory. I mean very hard to--in theory it's easy to understand, very hard in practice. I also remember us getting hired by Chevron Texaco which at the time was just Texaco. And it was the same sort of thing where they called us back after John and I made the presentation in White Plains, New York and they were asking me all these questions. They were like why should we hire you? And I just, again I was so strong in telling them why we were going to be--I said no firm is going to work harder for you. No firm is going to want this business as much as we want it. No firm is going to be as diligent as we are going to be. No firm is going to be as responsive to you. We are the firm you--that should work for you and we convinced them. And those two just stand out in my mind at the time. And then clients started to come and then when we started to get clients we'd have special lunches to celebrate getting hired. I remember we got hired by ComEd [Commonwealth Edison], we had a "light" lunch and I remember we got hired by--we used to have these themes around all the clients that hired us. They were hysterical but they were great and we--just celebrating those little victories started to help us a lot. And I also remember one other thing during that period, unlike some of our competition who would say we--our minimum account size is $10 million, we would say we'll take any amount. We're going to show you what we can do and we're going to be confident you're going to give us more. And that has always remained our policy at Ariel [Capital Management, later Ariel Investments, Chicago, Illinois].

David R. Duerson

Former NFL player-turned-business owner David Duerson was born in Muncie, Indiana, on November 28, 1960. After graduating from Northside High School in Muncie, Duerson began his promising football career at the University of Notre Dame. Duerson spent the summers from 1979 to 1981 working as a law clerk in Miami, Florida, and during the summer of 1982, he served as legislative aide to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar. Duerson graduated from Notre Dame with a B.S. degree in economics in 1983.

Following graduation, Duerson joined the Chicago Bears, where he played from 1983 to 1989, earning his first Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XX. In 1990, he joined the New York Giants, and that year the Giants won Super Bowl XXV. He then went on to play for the Phoenix Cardinals from 1991 to 1993. After leaving the NFL, Duerson decided to go into business through franchise ownership. He attended McDonald's Corporation's Hamburger University and in 1994 bought three McDonald's restaurants in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky. Selling his franchises in 1995, Duerson became president and CEO of Fair Oaks Farms, one of the primary suppliers of sausage to McDonald's and a number of other companies with an international distribution arm to Japan, Singapore, Turkey and Kuwait. Under his leadership, sales grew from $38 million in 1998 to $63.4 million in 2001. That same year, he earned an executive M.B.A. from Harvard University's Owners and Presidents Management Program.

In 2002, Duerson started Duerson Foods, providing pork and turkey sausage products to corporations such as Burger King, White Castle and SYSCO.

Duerson has earned a number of honors over the years, including being named two-time All-American at Notre Dame and the 1987 NFL Man of the Year. He serves on the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees and as chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Chicago Chapter. He is also active with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, serving as a national trustee. Duerson and his wife, Alicia, have four children.

Duerson passed away on February 17, 2011.

Duerson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.210

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2003

Last Name

Duerson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Russell

Schools

Longfellow Elementary School

Oliver W. Storer Junior High School

Northside High School

University of Notre Dame

Harvard University

Northside Middle School

Storer Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Muncie

HM ID

DUE01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Florida, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Never Be Satisfied.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/28/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish, Raw Oysters

Death Date

2/17/2011

Short Description

Football player and corporate chief executive David R. Duerson (1960 - 2011 ) is a former NFL player who is now CEO and owner of Duerson foods, sausage maker to Burger King and others.

Employment

Chicago Bears

New York Giants

Phoenix Cardinals

McDonald's Corporation

Fair Oaks Farms, LLC

Duerson Foods, LLC

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:0,101:10434,359:10878,364:11174,369:15836,378:16478,385:21850,432:22150,437:22600,443:25995,532:26335,537:27100,550:28885,577:29820,602:30160,607:32580,619:33560,635:34120,641:34540,649:34890,655:36990,702:37340,708:39580,716:43780,782:46880,818:47480,832:50086,844:50350,849:51010,861:51274,866:56200,942:56480,947:57110,956:57740,966:58020,972:58440,979:58860,986:59350,996:61100,1029:62220,1049:74937,1251:78107,1278:81422,1313:83222,1361:83942,1374:88886,1426:89700,1454:90144,1461:90588,1466:91254,1489:92290,1506:94066,1580:95620,1616:105436,1703:105744,1708:108978,1779:109363,1785:110903,1818:111211,1823:114230,1831:114926,1856:115274,1861:117623,1942:118058,1948:121048,1960$0,0:230,44:990,57:5474,125:6082,135:6994,150:8058,160:17322,282:18224,295:19536,311:20110,321:22078,350:24538,392:25358,404:26096,416:27244,433:27736,440:30830,452:31934,478:35706,527:36258,534:37638,557:39110,577:43950,639:44405,650:47980,735:48500,744:50060,773:50515,786:50775,791:51425,806:52205,822:55770,832:57722,880:58027,885:58393,892:62300,944:62860,956:63140,961:65030,1008:69664,1054:70246,1062:71022,1076:71507,1081:72574,1093:72962,1098:81726,1216:81998,1221:88090,1393:91333,1460:91954,1473:93817,1510:94438,1520:95749,1544:96025,1549:96508,1557:100764,1571:106455,1629:106755,1634:107505,1641:108030,1649:108630,1660:109305,1671:109755,1677:112980,1763:116055,1856:116355,1861:123786,1903:125861,1937:126691,1952:127189,1968:128019,1977:129679,2007:132252,2047:132750,2054:136402,2124:141392,2153:141861,2161:142196,2167:149364,2307:151732,2366:152028,2371:155876,2481:157208,2503:158762,2531:165198,2605:166150,2628:168122,2669:168598,2678:169414,2693:169754,2699:170298,2710:170842,2721:171182,2727:171590,2734:178902,2821:179218,2826:181430,2882:187048,2940
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Duerson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Duerson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Duerson describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Duerson discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Duerson relates his family's history after the U.S. Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Duerson describes his father's career successes

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Duerson remembers his hometown of Muncie, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Duerson discusses his mother's life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Duerson recalls the Duerson family's interstate travels

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Duerson discusses recreation in Muncie, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Duerson describes his childhood shenanigans

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Duerson recalls his early sports achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Duerson details his early educational experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Duerson remembers influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Duerson remembers his high school years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Duerson describes his national and international travel during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Duerson details his high school athletic accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Duerson remembers his college years at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Duerson discusses his continued involvement with the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Duerson recalls Notre Dame teammates and their athletic exploits

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Duerson explains why he chose football over baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Duerson discusses some unexpected setbacks in his professional football career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Duerson remembers 'Papa Bear' George Halas and Bears teammates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Duerson recalls his clashes with Bears defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Duerson details how he learned to handle Buddy Ryan's racism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Duerson reveals the inner workings of the Chicago Bears coaching staff

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Duerson describes his teammate, Bears quarterback Jim McMahon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Duerson describes Buddy Ryan's coaching skills

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Duerson remembers the end of his career with the Chicago Bears

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Duerson discusses his career after the Chicago Bears

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
David Duerson remembers 'Papa Bear' George Halas and Bears teammates
David Duerson describes Buddy Ryan's coaching skills
Transcript
Let's talk about the [Chicago] Bears [National Football League team] and when you got to the Bears. This is, what, what did you know about [coach] Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears. I think George Halas [owner of Chicago Bears] was still alive, wasn't he? 'Papa Bear' was still alive.$$(Simultaneously) George, 'Papa Bear', in fact, he was alive. He passed away that year, my rookie season. Chicago [Illinois] was a short sprint from South Bend. So the four years I was at [University of] Notre Dame [South Bend, Indiana], we'd come over on some Sundays and, and watch the Bears plays. And it was very easy to get tickets to Bear games back in those days because they were, were sorry. They were quite sorry. What I knew of Mike Ditka is that, is that he was a tough guy and that he had just drafted this, this small, middle linebacker, Mike Singletary, that nobody expected a whole lot from and that, you know, but it was a, it was a city that, on defensive side, always talked about its linebackers, but as far as I was concerned, it was a city of, of Gary Fencik and Doug Plank [Chicago Bears players]. And so--.$$Those are two hard-hittin' safeties.$$(Simultaneous) Two very, very hard-hitting' safeties, and, you know, with an incredible reputation. Growing up in Indiana, we got both the, the Bear games and the Cincinnati [Ohio] Bengals. Those were the two teams we saw. So my wife and I, as we were driving across the [Chicago] Skyway coming into Chicago, you know, I'm reporting to the city, and we're looking at the skyline, and I said, "Baby, you see that? Some day we're gonna own this like, like Gary Fencik and Doug Plank." And so I show up at training--at mini-camp. And my very first day, you know, Ditka embraced me and, you know, I was one of his draft picks. Well, I came to find out very quickly that I was [Bears coach] Mike Ditka and Jim Finks's pick. But I was not [Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator] Buddy Ryan's pick.$[Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Buddy] Ryan is, was quite a character as you've already said--,$$Um-hum.$$--but do you, would you consider him a defensive genius at some point?$$Yeah, I would. I, I absolutely considered Buddy a defensive genius. That's without question. He designed and created the '46 Defense', which it was the 46 in that, that was the number that Doug Plank wore, because the defense was designed for the strong safety and, which, of course, was the position I played in the 46. So done right, the strong safety is gonna be the centerpiece of that defense. And certainly, you know, it was genius for Buddy to design the defense, but in order for it to be effective, because he had designed it when he was actually coaching under Weeb Eubanks, with the New York Jets. But the defense was not effective because you had to have two things. You had to have bright players who could understand the X's and O's and be able to, to make multiple shifts before the snap of a ball, and they had to be talented athletically. And it just so happened that that combination came together in '83 [1983], '84 [1984], '85 [1985] with the Chicago Bears. As I said before, I played with ten other, or nine other All-Pros. So it was easy for Dave Duerson to go to the Pro Bowl [National Football League all-star game]. I just simply had to do my job, and if everybody else did their job, there were enough accolades to go around. But then, of course, when Buddy left, Vince Tobin took over as defensive coordinator. And I had even greater success in my career under Vince Tobin. So, so we can't give Buddy too much credit because again, the talent was there with our ball club. But when Buddy left, and after the end of the, of the '85 [1985] season and went to Philly [Philadelphia Eagles football team], we played the, the Eagles the next year in '86 [1986]. And from a defensive perspective, I beat Buddy Ryan by myself. I did things that day that, to this day I cannot explain. I freaked. I did, I had interceptions, I forced fumbles. I had two sacks. And I'll never forget, the game went into overtime. And I grabbed our special teams coach, Steve Kazor, and I told him, I'm, I'm going down on, on the kickoff team. I wasn't even on the kickoff team. And so Steve saw this crazy look in my eyes, he said, "Okay, great, go in at the five position." And so, you know, so I went in and I took some guy out. I don't remember who it was. And on the kickoff, Kevin Butler kicks off, I went down; the return man grabs the ball. I explode into him. He went one way, and the ball went another. We recover. Immediately, Kevin Butler goes onto the field, kicks a field goal, game over. And Buddy Ryan's crying, and that was my vindication. So never had to say a word, beating, simply with work ethic. And at the end of the day, I never had to say a word, and he was the one who broke down--not Dave Duerson.