Danny Wuerffel is Executive Director of Desire Street Ministries and a former American college and professional football athlete.
While at the University of Florida, Wuerffel led the Gators to four SEC Championships and the University’s very first National Football Title. He won the 1996 Heisman Trophy, the William V. Campbell Award, (formerly known as the Draddy award for the Nation’s top student-athlete) and set 17 NCAA and University of Florida records. He graduated with high honors earning his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. In 2013, Wuerffel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The New Orleans Saints drafted Wuerffel in 1997. After three years with the Saints, he played with the NFL’s European league, winning the World Bowl Championship and was selected as the league’s MVP by the European media. Wuerffel then went on to play one season with the Green Bay Packers followed by the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins before retiring his professional football career in 2004.
Like any quarterback, couldn’t do much of anything without a team. When the baton of Desire Street’s leadership was passed to me in 2006, I relied heavily, as I still do, on staff, donors, friends and family—people who are every bit as committed to the vision of revitalizing under-resourced neighborhoods as I am. Today, the real heroes are our ministry partners who live and work in the neighborhoods they love. But it’s not us who is really making the difference, it’s God. Please give Him all the glory.
Immediately following his football career, Wuerffel joined Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, a nonprofit with a mission to revitalize one of America’s most impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development. Wuerffel became executive director in 2006 and under his direction, Desire Street Ministries moved its headquarters to Atlanta and expanded its outreach beyond New Orleans to impact hundreds of children and families living in other southern inner cities.
A passionate and popular speaker, Wuerffel shares how his experiences playing football have influenced his life in his book, “Danny Wuerffel’s Tales from the Gator Swamp: Reflections of Faith and Football.” Born in Pensacola, Florida, Wuerffel grew up as the son of an Air Force Chaplain, living all over the country as well as three years in Spain. He now calls Atlanta his home with his wife, Jessica; two sons, Jonah and Joshua; and a daughter, Macy.
GET TO KNOW DANNY
ESPN, as part of the SEC Storied series, has premiered a new documentary on Executive Director Danny Wuerffel titled, “Wuerffel’s Way.” It recaps his decorated football career, as well as his 18-year journey at Desire Street.
Regarding the media attention promoting the film, Wuerffel was reminiscent of his days as a quarterback saying, “Sometimes the media tends to give you more credit than you deserve. Some of the articles refer to me as the founder of DSM and give me other credits that really should be passed along to the countless other heroes that worked tirelessly over the years at Desire Street.”
The film concludes with Wuerffel’s Guillain-Barré syndrome diagnosis in 2011, and footage of the groundbreaking for a new New Orleans project for Desire Street Ministries, Desire Community Square in the Ninth Ward.
WUERFFEL VIDEO PROFILE
Danny Wuerffel is executive director of Desire Street Ministries and a former American college and professional football athlete who played quarterback for the University of Florida and the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.
MEDIA FAQ SHEET
Desire Street Ministries was founded in 1990 in the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans, LA. What began as Bible study and youth outreach, grew into a junior-senior high school for 200 neighborhood young men, a church, a children’s medical clinic, and various community development endeavors. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of Desire Street’s progress in New Orleans, but at the same time, it propelled the ministry forward in its goal to replicate inner-city revitalization across the Southeast. Today, we coach and care for urban leaders, partnering our small staff with leaders of multiple neighborhoods in multiple cities across multiple states—continuing our mission to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development. Please read more about our ministry partners at desirestreet.org/partners.
In 2016, we reopened the ministry facility in New Orleans, which was demolished and rebuilt with the help of a FEMA Assistance grant. Desire Community Square houses a full-service medical clinic, an early childhood learning center and a community center.
Danny Wuerffel has led Desire Street since 2006, adapting his skills as an outstanding quarterback to the field of urban ministry. While at the University of Florida, Danny set 17 NCAA and Univ of Florida records, won the 1996 Heisman Trophy plus several other awards, and graduated with High Honors in Public Relations. In 2004, he co-authored Tales from the Gator Swamp about his college career.He played 7 seasons in the NFL, including quarterbacking for the New Orleans Saints, where he first learned of Desire Street. As he volunteered and spent time with neighborhood kids, he developed a passion he couldn’t ignore, and a vision to see every neighborhood become a desirable place to live.
DANNY WUERFFEL SPEAKING REQUEST
Danny Wuerffel and the fight for forgotten America
Saturday Down South, April 16, 2017
ESPN documentary follows faith, works of former Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel
The Advocate, August 25, 2015
ESPN to premiere Desire Street Academy documentary ‘Wuerffel’s Way’
The Times-Picayune, August 19, 2015
While Katrina changed his plans, former Saints QB Danny Wuerffel maintains his ministry’s presence in New Orleans
The Times-Picayune, July 6, 2015
Wuerffel Trophy Award Ceremony
Desire Cup Golf Tournament
The Wuerffel Trophy is the only major college football award that places the majority of its voting emphasis on Community Service. We are proud to work in harmony with the All Sports Association to award the Wuerffel Trophy each year, presented to the FBS (formerly Division 1) football player that best combines exemplary community service with academic and athletic achievement.
Thanks for dropping by our newly redesigned website! If you’re familiar with Desire Street, you might notice that we have a new logo—more about that in a future post—to go with the new site. With the growth of our coaching staff through the addition of our Legacy...
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