August 21, 2015

Pi Kappa Phi alumnus featured in ESPN ’30 For 30′ film

Written by Beta Omicron Chapter

A Pi Kappa Phi alumnus is helping share the heroic story of NFL legend Joe Delaney in ESPN's latest '30 For 30′ film.

Beta Omicron Chapter alumnus Doug Ireland, who is also Northwestern State University's sports information director, is featured in 'Delaney,' a documentary profiling the life and legacy of the Kansas City Chiefs running back who died in 1983 while trying to rescue three children from drowning in a pond. "It's important to celebrate the life of Joe Delaney, an ordinary Joe with great American values who did extraordinary things as an athlete, and ultimately made an heroic effort and sacrifice," Ireland said. "His story is timeless and inspiring. Not since Frank Deford's piece in Sports Illustrated after Joe's death in 1983 has there been a national media story that truly emphasized Joe's ties to Northwestern."

In the short film, Ireland and others reflect on Delaney's collegiate football and track careers, and subsequent selection in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft. The two were students on the NSU campus at the same time. "He didn't dress like a star because he was scratching and clawing to provide for a wife and kids while he was in school," Ireland said. "He was just a country kid with no pretension, no ego, a smile that lit up any room. As they say, he was raised right."

The running back from Haughton, Louisiana, was AFC Rookie of the Year in 1981 and played in thePi Kappa Phi alumnus featured in ESPN '30 For 30' film 02 Pro Bowl. Ireland says it was impossible not to root for Delaney. "We watched him struggle to learn how to play running back (at NSU) and his effort was relentless. We saw him put the team above his own best interests by playing hurt the second half of his senior year, and then by staying on the relay team after he got drafted by the Chiefs, instead of stepping away to avoid risking an injury. His NFL success was so gratifying to those who knew him and knew his story. His death was heartbreaking and heroic and tremendously impactful to those whose lives he touched."

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