Chamber event to feature Spielman

STEUBENVILLE – Chris Spielman, co-founder of the Stefanie Spielman Breast Cancer Research Fund and ESPN College football analyst, will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet set for 6 p.m. Sept. 30 at St. Florian Hall.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Spielman is regarded as one of the best college linebackers of his time. Now an ESPN college football analyst and professional speaker, the father of four also is a “cancer warrior,” continuing the fight he and his late wife, Stefanie, started after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

The couple started their cancer research fund in 1998 with a goal of raising $250,000. It’s grown into a $10 million fund and is a nationally recognized organization. Mrs. Spielman died the following the year.

“We are fortunate to be able to have Chris Spielman as our keynote speaker for the 2013 annual dinner and awards banquet,” Chamber President Sue Hershey said. “Not only has he established himself on the field, but also off the field as co-founder of the Stefanie Spielman Breast Cancer Research Fund. Heading into Breast Cancer Awareness Month, his coming to Steubenville is timely and inspirational.”

Spielman’s credo is “strength through commitment,” she added. “He’s well known for his speaking ability and his genuine concern for cancer victims and survivors.”

A 1984 graduate of Washington High School in Massillon, Spielman achieved gridiron greatness at Ohio State University while earning a degree in recreation education. As a senior at OSU, Spielman twice led the team in tackles and interceptions (1986 and 1987) and also was a two-time All-American, intercepted 11 passes and ranked third in Buckeye history with 512 tackles. He won the Lombardi and the Harley Chic awards as the best college football lineman or linebacker in 1987 and was named Ohio State’s team MVP.

He was a second-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions, playing with the team for eight seasons, including four playoff appearances, two NFC Central titles and a berth in the 1992 NFC championship game. He led the team in tackles for eight consecutive seasons, including the team’s highest single-season tally of 195 tackles in 1994. He also represented the Lions in four Pro Bowls (199092 and1995) and was named the team’s defensive MVP in 1993 and 1994.

Spielman went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, retiring in 1999 after a neck injury.

He worked for a time as an NFL studio-show analyst for Fox Sports Net, then joined ESPN as a broadcast analyst as well as studio analyst for college football. He also is a contributor to the Columbus-based WBNS-FM The Fan, an ESPN Radio affiliate, and hosted his own two-hour show, “Spielman on Sports.”

Tickets will be available to Chamber members initially, before being released to the general public. Hershey anticipates tickets going on sale in mid-August.