Former Owl inspires NFL Ravens
When President Barack Obama called to congratulate the Baltimore Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh on their Super Bowl victory, he made a special point to mention how inspired he and the first lady were by a story on Rice alumnus O.J. Brigance.
Brigance, who is currently the Ravens' director of player development, was a standout linebacker and three-year starter for the Owls from 1987 to 1991, twice being named to the All-Southwest Conference team.
After going undrafted in 1991, Brigance played in the Canadian Football League before eventually making the NFL roster of the Miami Dolphins in 1996. In 2000, Brigance joined the Baltimore Ravens and became the team's special-teams captain. When the Ravens reached Super Bowl XXXV that season, it was Brigance who recorded the game's first tackle in what would be a winning effort.
In 2007, Brigance was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. The debilitating and eventually fatal motor neuron disease robbed Brigance of his ability to use his arms, to walk and, eventually, to talk. Yet using a motorized wheelchair and communication technology, Brigance has continued in his front-office role with the Ravens, making the most of the abilities and the time he has left to continue having an impact on those around him.
For more on Brigance, see the video "Heart of the Ravens" on ESPN.com or search "Brigance" at riceowls.com.
More from The Rice Thresher
Pitcher Roel Garcia became the latest Owl to turn pro on Tuesday when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in round 14 of the MLB Draft. According to Garcia, he barely remembers the moment he heard his name called because he was so overwhelmed with joy.
Amy Dittmar, the senior vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, has been selected as Rice’s new provost, incoming president Reginald DesRoches announced Thursday. DesRoches, the current provost, will become Rice’s president on July 1, and Dittmar will start August 1.
On Thursday, sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes proved to the rest of the country what her Conference USA opponents and Rice teammates have known for years – she’s one of the fastest runners in the country. Competing at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore. for the second consecutive year, Forbes, took second place in the 10,000-meter, the best finish by an Owl at the NCAAs in over a decade. According to Forbes, who missed the indoor season and the first month of the outdoor season due to extreme fatigue later diagnosed as an autoimmune disorder, the result was a testament to the work she’s put in to overcome an incredibly challenging year.