Derrick Brooks - The Ambassadors
Former NFL Super Bowl Champion and founder of Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc.
Derrick Brooks has long been one of the most respected players in the National Football League. A seasoned veteran of the NFL, Brooks holds the distinction of being the only Buccaneers player to be named to eleven Pro Bowls. In 2009, Derrick expanded his career as a football commentator for both ESPN, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The long-time former player leader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and one of the NFL's best linebackers, Brooks started over 200 consecutive games, the most among all active NFL defenders.
The 2002 season ranks as the best of Derrick’s career, during which he led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl championship, was named AP Defensive Player of the Year and racked up numerous All-Pro and MVP team honors from various sports publications and organizations.
Recognized as much for his hard work in the community as he is for his hard hits on the football field, Brooks remains one of the most community-minded players in the NFL. Through his foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., Brooks has made it his life's mission to positively impact the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
The Brooks Bunch program served as the cornerstone of Derrick’s community involvement leading the way for the formation of Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. The Brooks Bunch was founded in 1997, and consisted of youth from the Wilbert Davis, Ybor City, and Brandon Boys & Girls Clubs. As a rookie, Brooks began to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs as a way to encourage and motivate the children to excel in the classroom. During one visit, Brooks realized through conversation with a young girl that the kids at the club had not experienced things that average Americans take for granted. Thus, the idea behind the Brooks Bunch was born.
Brooks has accompanied his Bunch on seven educational journeys altogether, including a college tour to New York, Chicago, and Tallahassee, and trips to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and the western United States. In 2000 and 2005, Brooks Bunch members who earned their way traveled with Brooks to South Africa where they visited Johannesburg, Cape Town, Robben Island, and Sabi Sabi safari camp.
In addition to the Brooks Bunch program, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., includes annual programs such as the college preparatory program “First and Goal” which prepares first-generation college attendees for their next step in life – post secondary education, something that never looked like a reality to them. The Brooks Bunch Scholarship Program provides Semester Stipends for the students that have successfully completed the First and Goal Program and qualify with program minimums of 12 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Derrick’s outreach also includes the Rites of Passage Program, a mentoring program for young ladies. Other initiatives include the annual Game Day Ticket Program, Thanksgiving Feeding and Christmas Party.
In August of 2007, Derrick realized one of his lifelong goals with the opening of the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a public charter school sponsored by Hillsborough County Public Schools. Through a partnership with the DeBartolo family, and a strong board of directors, Derrick was able to oversee the implementation of the only traditional charter high school in the Tampa Bay area. Brooks-DeBartolo’s mission is to provide a rigorous and relevant academic environment where both students and teachers achieve excellence through high expectations, collaboration and support.
Brooks has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2000 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, and the 2004 Bryon "Whizzer" White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Player’s association, all of which recognize an NFL player annually for their commitment to the communities in which they live.
Since 2003, Brooks has occupied a seat on the board of trustees of Florida State University, a position to which he was appointed to by former Governor Jeb Bush. Brooks attended FSU where he was a four-year letterman on his way to becoming a First Team All-American, a First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, and a participant in the Senior Bowl during his senior season. Brooks originally graduated from FSU with a Bachelor's degree in business communications before adding his Master's in the same subject in 1999. In 2006, Derrick also received his Doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Leo’s University.
Derrick is married to Carol and has four children, Brianna Monai, Derrick Brooks, Jr., Darius Dewan, and Dania Denice.