From small town to NFL star

By on August 19, 2011

Don Beebe comes home to share his story
by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—This year’s multi-denominational church service during Elburn Days will feature a well-known local boy who made good.

Former NFL star and Kaneland High School graduate Don Beebe is the guest speaker at the service at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, at Elburn Lions Park. Beebe will have some interesting stories to tell about his journey as a professional athlete.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to my home town and seeing a lot of old faces,” Beebe said. “I look forward to the event.”

Rev. Gary Augustine said Beebe will talk about his faith and how it helped him achieve what he did.

“He’s unique in that he’s a guy who has all this passion and drive, and overcame major obstacles,” Augustine said. “It was his faith in Jesus Christ that kept him on that course – focused, when a lot of other guys would have just given up.”

Beebe played nine years as an NFL wide receiver and played in six Super Bowls, winning a world championship with the Green Bay Packers in 1997.

But his road to the NFL is an inspiring story. Following high school, Beebe spent some time at Western Illinois University, then transferred to Aurora University for a year. He spent the next three years installing aluminum siding with his brother-in-law. He then attended unknown Chadron State College in Nebraska before the Buffalo Bills drafted him. Tryouts for the NFL are by invitation only, and when Beebe showed up in the third round as the 82nd pick overall in the 1989 Draft, he posted impressive times in speed and agility, leaving coaches wondering where he came from.

Beebe retired 14 years ago and devotes his time to the House of Speed (, working with young athletes to perform better and enhance their skills. But it’s not just about sports.

“I realized during my career, that I was put there for a reason, and it wasn’t all about me,” he said. “The reason was to be a role model. My passion is sports and kids, so what better way to do that than train kids in athletics and involve character building with that.

“We need more people out there to teach kids about character building.”

Augustine said Beebe epitomizes “what the fighting heart is all about.”

“Here’s a guy that never goes out unless he’s giving all he’s got,” Augustine said. “That attitude, that development, that thing he had to never quit, came from his faith; it was the soil that the character quality developed from”

Beebe said he will talk about his relationship with Christ and sharing his faith.

You can find out more about Don Beebe at

The special service is sponsored by area churches including Elburn Community Congregational Church, Elburn Hill Church and Hope Anglican Church.