USA Football adds ex-NFL player Deron Cherry to board of directors

USA Football, the sport's national governing body and the leader in youth and high school coaching education, announced today the addition of three members to its board of directors.

Business leader and former NFL All-Pro Safety Deron Cherry, Pac-12 General Counsel and Senior Vice President Woodie Dixon and Atlantic Coast Conference Senior Associate Commissioner for Football Michael Strickland have joined the Indianapolis-based nonprofit's board of directors.

Cherry is the managing general partner of United Beverage Company in Kansas City, Missouri. While attending Rutgers University, Cherry was a standout football player as a safety and punter before embarking on an 11-year NFL career (1981-91) spent entirely with the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition to 50 career interceptions and six Pro Bowl selections, Cherry earned the 1987 Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award, awarded by the NFL Players' Association, for his involvement in several civic organizations, including Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the United Negro College Fund. In 1995, the Palmyra, New Jersey, native became a limited ownership partner in the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, making him the first minority owner of an NFL franchise.

Dixon is the lead counsel of the Pac-12 Conference, responsible for the conference's legal and business affairs. A Harvard Law School graduate, Dixon also oversees football, human resources and helps manage the conference's Pac-12 Networks. A native of Minneapolis, he was formerly the general counsel and salary cap manager for the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-10) and trained under the NFL Management Council. He was named one of Sports Business Journal's Forty Under 40 award recipients in 2013.

Strickland has served as the ACC's Senior Associate Commissioner for football since January 2013. His responsibilities include the management and promotion of the annual Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, serving as the Commissioner's liaison with each of the league's 14 football head coaches and programs, administering the ACC's bowl relationships, regular-season conference scheduling, oversight of the football officiating program and acting as the conference's football liaison with national and regional television networks. Strickland has also steered the ACC's leadership initiatives in the area of player safety.

The ACC and Pac-12 both endorse USA Football's Heads Up Football program for better and safer play, joining more than two dozen organizations spanning medicine, child advocacy and sport.

"We're proud to have Deron, Woodie and Michael join our board of directors," USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. "These three individuals bring knowledge and experience that will help advance our game for the betterment of our young athletes. Their knowledge and commitment to the sport will make them valuable contributors to USA Football and to our country's football community."

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and ESPN NFL Analyst Merril Hoge completed their USA Football board terms. Both continue to support the nonprofit's programs and mission to advance important standards in football rooted in education.

USA Football, with members in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., conducts more than 200 football education and training events annually on high school and youth levels. More than 750 high schools and 5,500 youth football organizations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have registered for USA Football's Heads Up Football program this season.

USA Football's Board of Directors:

  • Joe Browne, National Football League
  • Deron Cherry, Former NFL player
  • Tom Cove, Sports & Fitness Industry Association
  • Woodie Dixon, Pac-12 Conference
  • Bob Gardner, National Federation of State H.S. Assns.
  • Roger Goodell, National Football League
  • Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football
  • Leroy Hollins II, Louisiana Youth Football
  • Mark Meana, Fairfax County (Va.) Youth Football League
  • Carl Peterson, USA Football Chairman
  • Dr. Gail L. Rosseau, NorthShore University HealthSystems
  • Steve Specht, Cincinnati St. Xavier High School
  • Michael Strickland, Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Grant Teaff, American Football Coaches Association
  • Mike Wilcox, Wilcox Financial/Wilcox Sports Group

-- USA Football Communications

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