Special Extended Interview with Brian Westbrook '01 VSB from Villanova Magazine
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My VILLANOVA Story
Wildcats football great and recently retired NFL superstar Brian Westbrook ‘01 VSB took time out from his new career as an Eagles analyst for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia to chat with Villanova Magazine.
Tell us about your charity, Brian’s Blessings.
Our goal is to build a community center that serves as a hub for athletics and schoolwork and is a place where kids can learn a trade so they can be successful in life. I’ve been blessed to have people to help me along the way. It would be disappointing if I didn’t give back to someone else.
Did Villanova heighten your desire to give back?
Coach Andy Talley always told us: “It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.” Villanova compels you to do more and to find some way of giving back. Being involved with Special Olympics struck a chord with me and became a highlight of my time at Villanova.
How did Villanova help to shape your character?
At Villanova, you are held to a higher standard. That builds character. Being around professors, coaches, students … your character develops into something better. There is a saying about the older you get, the more your parents know. It’s the same thing with education. The further you get from your school days, the more you realize how much you gained in college. My Villanova experience continues to help me to grow, and I appreciate it more and more.
How does being a Villanova alumnus make you feel?
Very proud! When people ask me what college I attended and I say Villanova, some are surprised that student-athletes—with the emphasis on students—come from here. It shows the high academic regard people hold Villanova in. Villanova has a tradition that you leave things better than you found them – a tradition of people like Brian Finneran and Howie Long. That tradition is important to me. When I talk about Villanova, I say I enjoyed it, met great people and received the foundation I needed to be successful in life.
What was your proudest moment at Villanova?
Winning the Payton Award my senior year. It was a culmination of everything I’d learned about hard work, discipline, dedication, study—all those lessons from family and coaches. It was a great feeling as an individual award, but so many teammates, coaches, teachers and other people contributed to that success.
What was most rewarding about playing in the NFL?
Being able to fulfill a lifetime dream. Any time that you get to the highest level of whatever you do, it’s rewarding. It was a blessing and honor to do it for nine years.
Describe the transition to TV analyst.
When I was playing, I focused on playing. I put every minute into being successful. Now that I am in media, I put all my effort into becoming better at that craft. I am excited to have the opportunity to be on TV and use my Villanova education to explain the game and express myself.
Legendary running back Brian Westbrook’s philosophy that hard work, dedication and self-discipline lead to success has served him on the gridiron and in philanthropy.
Years: 1997-2001; Records at graduation: 41 school records, 19 conference records, 5 NCAA records; Accomplishments: Walter Payton Award, first team All-American honors (three seasons), jersey retired
Seasons: 9; Eagles franchise records: Leader in total yards from scrimmage (9,785) and touches (1,734); Accomplishments: Two-time Pro Bowl selection, 2007 NFL Alumni Running Back of the Year