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Drake To Honor Cundiff, Tyler and Pezzetti With Double D Award

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: February 02, 2012
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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa--The Drake University Athletic Department will honor three distinguished former student-athletes on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, with the presentation of the Drake Double D Award.

Billy Cundiff (football), Jerry Pezzetti (baseball) and Dani Tyler (softball) will receive the highest honor presented to a Bulldog student-athlete in a ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Parents Hall, located in the upper level of the Olmsted Center. Events begin with a reception at 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner at 5 p.m. and recognition at halftime of Drake's men's basketball game that night against Evansville.

The Double D award is presented annually to Drake letterwinners for achievements in their chosen fields of endeavor and/or community service since leaving Drake. Since its inception in 1968, the Double D honor has been presented to 242 former Drake letterwinners.

Persons interested in attending the dinner can call (515) 271-2889 to reserve a place. Reservations are $25 per person for the dinner. Game tickets can be purchased by calling the Drake Athletics ticket office at (515) 271-DOGS .

Cundiff, an All-American kicker at Drake, is an eight-year veteran of the National Football League, who just completed his third season with the Baltimore Ravens. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Drake in 2003.

A 2010 selection to the Pro Bowl, Cundiff earned Associated Press All-Pro honors after scoring a career-high 117 points, converting 26 of 29 field goal attempts and all 39 point-after attempts. He eclipsed that mark in 2011 with a career-best 122 points for the AFC North Champion Ravens.

Cundiff has scored the sixth-most points by an NFL kicker since the start of the 2010 season (239) and has an NFL-best 84 touchbacks in that time period.

After initially breaking into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, Cundiff found himself out of the game in 2007 and 2008. A six-week stint with Cleveland in 2009 got him back in the game, and he signed with the Ravens later that season. Cundiff also has played for Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay, Kansas City and New Orleans. As a rookie with Dallas in 2002 he made all 25 PAT conversions, along with 12 field goals. He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking a 48-yard field goal on the game's final play to give the Cowboys a 13-10 victory against defending NFC champion St. Louis.

Cundiff tied an NFL record by making seven field goals in a 2003 Monday Night Football game at the New York Giants, including a 52-yarder on the final play of regulation to send the game into overtime. He followed with a 25-yard kick that gave the Cowboys a 35-32 victory. His kicking shoe from the record-tying effort is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Cundiff closed out his career at Drake owning 15 school and five Pioneer Football League records, including Drake career marks for points (284), field goals (49-of-79) and PATs (137-of-151). He also ranks 14th on the NCAA I-AA career field goal list, connecting on 49. Cundiff made eight field goals over 50 yards during his career at Drake, including a Pioneer Football League-record 62-yard field goal as a junior in 2000 against San Diego. He also lettered in basketball in 2000-01.

A native of Harlan, Iowa, Cundiff was a three-time all-state prep selection. He and his wife Nicole, a 2002 Drake graduate, have a daughter, Chloe (3) and a son, Luke (1).

Pezzetti was a baseball letterwinner at Drake, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1961. He went on to earn a Master's degree from Truman State University.

Upon graduation from Drake, Pezzetti coached football at Murray High School before returning to his hometown of Melcher, Iowa, to coach at Melcher-Dallas High School. He taught in the Ankeny Community School District for 33 years before retiring. With 50 years of football coaching experience, Pezzetti continues as head coach at Ankeny High School, which he has led to 21 conference championships.

Pezzetti's teams have qualified for the Iowa state football playoffs 20 times and the semifinals 11 times. Ankeny won the 1997 4A state championship and was runner-up in 2007. His teams have compiled 357 wins, third-most on Iowa's career list and 16th in the nation among active coaches.

In 1985 Pezzetti served as head football coach for the Iowa Shrine Football Game after serving as an assistant in 1979. He was inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985, was 4A state coach of the year in 2007, and was Central Iowa Metropolitan League Coach of the Year in 2002, '03, '08 and '11.

Pezzetti was a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Football Coach of the Year. He was nominated by the Iowa Football Coaches Association and the Iowa High School Athletic Association to receive the 2010-11 National Federation of State High School Association Iowa football Coach of the Year award. Pezzetti also has been nominated by the Des Moines Area Sports Commission for the Central Iowa Sports Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Pezzetti and his wife Margaret have a daughter, Rachel and  son-in-law, Bryan Witherwax, and son, Ryan and  daughter-in-law Kim Pezzetti. They also have four grandchildren, Ethan and London Witherwax and Rilynd and Kayle Pezzetti.

Tyler is one of the most accomplished softball players in Drake history. She turned her collegiate success on the diamond into a spot on the U.S. National softball team from 1994-2000. She won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and also claimed gold with Team USA in the Pan-American Games and World Championships.

 A former first-team All-World member, Tyler has won numerous athletic and humanitarian awards throughout the country and has been featured in several Sports Illustrated articles. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Drake in 1997.

She was a member of the Missouri Valley All-Centennial Team, earned Missouri Valley Conference Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to earn multiple All-MVC, MVC All-Tournament and All-Midwest Region honors. She finished with a career batting average of .395 and stamped her name in the top five of virtually every Drake softball batting and field record.

A native of Oak Park, Ill., Tyler graduated from River Forest High School in 1992 after a four-year run as an all-state player who compiled a career batting average of .464. She was named scholar-athlete of the year and Illinois Female Athlete of the Year.

Tyler resides in Oak Park and is a partner at the CPA firm Bansley and Kiener, L.L.P. in Chicago. She has been a motivational speaker for several Fortune 500 companies and is a five-time finisher of the Chicago Marathon.

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