ASU's pro football legacy celebrated at Oct. 26 Legends Luncheon event

Luis Zendejas

The Arizona State University Sun Devils are one of college football’s greatest success stories in terms of professional advancement – nearly 200 of ASU’s student-athletes have gone on to play football in the National Football League. The ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club will honor its pro players on Oct. 26, at its “Legends Luncheon: The NFL” event.

ASU has been recruited heavily by NFL scouts for decades and has a history of producing tough, versatile players. The luncheon will be attended by some of the best-known Sun Devil players to make their mark in the NFL, including a panel of these Sun Devils:

• Ron Pritchard, a linebacker who played nine seasons for the Houston Oilers and the Cinncinnati Bengals. During a single season in 1968 at ASU, Pritchard played in the College All-Star game, the Hula Bowl, the Senior Bowl, and the East-West Shrine Game. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

• Mike Haynes, who was selected by the New England Patriots in the 1976 NFL draft, earned a Pro Bowl invitation as a rookie. He was traded to the Oakand Raiders in 1983 and helped the team earn its Super Bowl XVIII victory. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1999, he was ranked on the Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

• Luis Zendejas, originally from Mexico City, was a kicker for the Sun Devils from 1981 to 1984. He was a consensus first-team All-American and was the all-time career leading scorer in NCAA history when he left ASU. He played for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL, as well as the USFL’s Arizona Outlaws and the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.

• Phillippi Sparks, a cornerback, played defensive backfield in the NFL for nine years, first for the New York Giants, where he was a second round draft pick in 1992, and later for the Dallas Cowboys.

The luncheon will start at 11:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The event program, emceed by ASU broadcaster Tim Healey, will highlight the continuing quality of ASU’s football program and the way in which the university has prepared NFL-bound players for their careers.

Alissa Pierson, executive director of alumni programs and constituent group relations for the Alumni Association, explained that the annual luncheon highlights a different aspect of ASU’s football program each year. Honoring pro players who got their start at ASU was a natural extension of this theme, she said.

“The Arizona State program has been an important stop for players headed to a professional career in football,” she said. “This year’s Legends Luncheon will honor their contributions both to ASU and the NFL.”

Tickets to the luncheon are $55 for ASU Alumni Association or Sun Devil Club members and $60 for nonmembers. Tables seating 10 are $550 for members and $600 for nonmembers. Sponsorship tables, which include seating for nine plus a former Sun Devil player, start at $1,000.

For more information on the Legends Luncheon, visit