Jack Kemp, whose pro football career helped launch him to a successful career in public service, will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of USA Football, it was announced Tuesday.
The National Football League and NFL Players Association established USA Football -- the first national advocacy organization representing all levels of amateur football -- last December to collaborate with youth and high school football programs and create alliances to further build the game.
Kemp, the MVP of the American Football League with the Buffalo Bills in 1965, will head USA Football's diverse, broad-based board whose goal is to represent and unify the game of football.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw, and USA Football Executive Director Dave Ogrean made the announcement at the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona.
"Jack Kemp will use his football knowledge and political experience to help accomplish the goal of USA Football, which is to galvanize and promote the game at the amateur level," said Commissioner Tagliabue and Upshaw. "It is vital for the future of the sport that we work together to promote the interest of youth and high school football. Jack Kemp and Dave Ogrean are the right leaders to help fulfill that goal."
USA Football, located in suburban Washington, D.C., supports several national organizations including Pop Warner, American Youth Football, Boys and Girls Clubs Of America, National Recreation and Park Association, Police Athletic League, YMCA and the AAU.
Kemp began his professional football career in 1957 when he was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 17th round of the NFL Draft. After three NFL seasons with Pittsburgh and the New York Giants, Kemp signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles (later San Diego) Chargers of the AFL. In two seasons with the Chargers, Kemp was named to two AFL All-Star Games and played in the AFL Championship Game in 1960 and 1961.
In 1962, Kemp joined the Buffalo Bills and led the team to consecutive AFL titles in 1964 and 1965 and is in the Bills Hall of Fame. He co-founded the American Football League Players Association in the 1960s and was elected president of the association five times.
After his football career, Kemp represented the Buffalo area and western New York for 18 years in the United States House of Representatives from 1971-89. President George H. W. Bush selected Kemp to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1989.
Kemp received the Republican Party's nomination for Vice President of the United States in August of 1996 and since then has lead national campaigns for reform of taxation, Social Security and education. Kemp serves on several corporate and non-profit boards and is co-director of Empower America, a public policy and advocacy organization he co-founded in 1993.
Kemp and his wife Joanne reside in Bethesda, Maryland. They have four children, including sons Jeff and Jimmy who played for many years as quarterbacks in the NFL and CFL, respectively. The Kemps have 14 grandchildren.