Former Golfer Rooney named NCAA Silver Anniversary Award Winner

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney, a former KU men’s golfer and founder of the non-profit organization Folds of Honor, has been named a winner of the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, it was announced Wednesday.

The award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, composed of representatives of NCAA member schools, conferences and distinguished citizens, including past awardees. Rooney is one of seven award recipients this year.

“We are so proud of former Kansas student-athlete, Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney, for being honored with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award,” said Kansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long. “Through Folds of Honor, he has changed the lives of so many service men and women who have endured tragic circumstances. Lt. Colonel Rooney’s philanthropy and service is a shining example of how former student-athletes can and do make our world a better place. Congratulations Lt. Colonel Rooney, you inspire us all!”

Rooney will officially be recognized during a virtual Honors Celebration awards show on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The show will be streamed at 6 p.m., CST on the NCAA Twitter account (@NCAA) and on the ESPN app.

The other 2021 recipients are Shareef Abdur-Rahim (California), Adam J. Burgasser (University of California, San Diego), Michelle M. Marciniak (Tennessee), Fernando Palomo (Texas A&M), Amy E. Reinhard (Harvard) and Michelle Cusimano Vachris (Virginia).

Rooney, a letterwinner at Kansas in 1995 and 1996, had an accomplished on-course career. He won the 1995 Kansas Invitational and took sixth place at the 1996 NCAA Central Regional. He helped the Jayhawks finish second at the Big Eight Championships in 1995 and finish fifth at the 1996 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.

He played professionally briefly after college, while also enrolling in flight school. He eventually served his country on three combat tours to Iraq. During his time serving, Rooney founded Folds of Honor.

Folds of Honor has provided 30,000 scholarships totaling more than $140 million to families of fallen or disabled service members. Rooney’s organization handed out its first Folds of Honor scholarship in 2007. He currently serves as the founder and chief executive officer.

For his efforts starting such an impactful organization, Rooney has won the PGA Tour’s Patriot Award, and was also named Person of the Year by ABC World News Tonight.

Rooney is a two-time recipient of the Top Gun award and a recipient of the Spirit of Attack Award as a top graduate of F-16 training. The White House presented Rooney with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, while the Air National Guard awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and Directors Service Award to the former Jayhawk.

The Air Force bestowed Rooney with the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Anti-Terrorism Medal, Combat Readiness Medal and Air Expeditionary Medal. He also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Rooney has also authored two books, “A Patriot’s Calling: Living Life Between Fear and Faith” and “Fly into the Wind: How to Harness Faith and Fearlessness on Your Ascent to Greatness.”

Rooney was recently featured on The Jayhawker podcast, which can be listened to and read here.