Kurt Warner returns to UNI



Kurt Warner speaks to the media during his trip to Cedar Falls this past weekend.

CADEN SHEA, Sports Editor

As a part of UNI’s 2022 homecoming weekend, one of the most famous Panthers of all returned home. Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner made his return to the Cedar Valley to celebrate UNI in their homecoming festivities with him and his wife Brenda being honorary VIPs for the Homecoming parade. Warner played for the UNI Panthers football team from 1989 until 1993. Warner was on the bench for many of his college years but started for the Panthers in his senior season. Warner went on to have a stellar career in the NFL, primarily for the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, winning both regular season and Super Bowl MVP awards. Warner’s return after a long hiatus allowed for a lot of reflection and remembrance about his time at UNI. One of the first things Warner was asked about upon his return to UNI were some of his favorite memories while attending college. 

“There’s so many great memories. I met my wife here so I’d probably have to say that,” Warner said. “So much of my life was shaped here during those years.” 

A primary reason for Warner returning to his alma mater was to promote the new Our Tomorrow fundraising campaign that is looking to raise $250 million for the betterment of the university. Warner explained his involvement in the campaign through his belief in legacy. 

“I wanna leave a legacy that impacts the next generation. I wanna go beyond a football field and impact the lives of people.”

Warner has been an inspiration to many with his underdog story and never-give-up attitude. A lot of his attitude can be attributed to the most important lesson he ever learned during his time at UNI: the importance of practice. 

“Probably the greatest lesson I’ve ever learned was the idea of who are you at practice? I sat on the bench for four years and I remember having a conversation through the coaches of why I wasn’t playing and one of their messages to me was I wasn’t a very good practice player. 95 percent of life is lived in practice and people wanna know who you’re gonna be everyday, how you’re gonna show up for work, and they trust you in the big moments by what you do in the little moments. Whether I’m being a husband, whether I’m being a father, whether it’s one of my other jobs, it’s how I do my job on a daily basis.”

Another important topic that Warner spoke about was the significance of opportunities and what we do with them. 

“The biggest thing that I’ve realized is what do you do with your opportunity when you get it. Just keep working everyday and at some point the opportunity is going to come and at the end of the day you gotta prove whether you can handle that opportunity or not.” His words of wisdom resonate with those who don’t know what to do when faced with important decisions that may lead to a tremendous opportunity in the future. 

Warner’s indirect path to NFL superstardom has attracted the attention of many people around the country. His path has directly impacted the way that football players of all levels are drafted and chosen in the NFL and beyond. When asked about what players in the FCS can do to make it to the next level, Warner’s advice was, “It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s all about where you finish.”

Warner’s return to UNI was a very memorable experience for all involved. His impact on the university could be felt throughout the campus during the homecoming weekend. Warner’s pledge to give back to the university and the community as a whole made one thing very evident: he is still proud to be a Panther.