Former National Football League (NFL) star Blaine Bishop is proof that a strong support system can make a difference in anyone’s life.

When he was in elementary school, his mother made the decision to sign him up for a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I grew up through this program. My Big Brother was a combination of mentor and father figure for me,” he says. “People helped me believe that I was special and that I could get out of the area we were living in. They had high expectations of me. They helped mold who I am.”

As a football player at Ball State, Bishop’s leadership skills became obvious. By his senior year, the defensive back was a captain for the Cardinals. He finished his college career with an appearance in the annual Blue-Gray All-Star Classic, but more importantly, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“You have to do something special to make yourself stand out. You have to approach sports as a professional; you have to approach life as a professional,” he says.

With his natural talent and skills he learned from Ball State, Bishop was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1993 and earned four trips to the Pro Bowl for his play with the Oilers and their later incarnation, the Tennessee Titans. While with the Titans, Bishop played in the 2000 Super Bowl.

In addition to his many athletic accomplishments, Bishop has consistently demonstrated passion, generosity, and leadership in giving back to his community. He serves on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee in Nashville, and in 2008, he traveled to Washington DC to take part in the White House Compassion in Action roundtable discussion on “Faith-Based and Community Mentoring That Changes Lives.” After retiring from the league in 2002, he began his career working as a radio and television cohost and analyst in Nashville.

Knowing the importance of helping students rise above their circumstances, Bishop is joining fellow alumnus A.B. Floyd to lead fundraising efforts for the Floyd Leadership Scholars program. The program, which will award scholarships to minority students with leadership potential and high academic ability, will contribute to a vibrant, diverse student population, enriching the educational experiences of all students.

“These scholarships will provide opportunities for students, some of whom may live in underprivileged areas like I did, to excel in academics and will give them the opportunity to obtain a college degree,” he says. 

Learn how your gift can support this scholarship or other endeavors of the university.