Mike Ditka’s career in the NFL is synonymous with success which gives him great credibility to speak on the topic of not only football and sports but also success in life. His speaking presentations called “Success” and “Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm” demonstrate how the lessons he learned have led to his success both on and off the field.
A native of Carnegie, Pennsylvania, Mike Ditka grew up as the son of a steel-mine worker. He was a three sports star in high school, and was a college football Consensus All-American at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960. Drafted in the first round by George Halas of the Chicago Bears, Ditka was the 5th overall selection in 1961 NFL draft, and was honored that year as the NFL’s Rookie of the Year.
Ditka played tight end for the National Football League’s Chicago Bears (1961-1966), Philadelphia Eagles (1967-1968) and Dallas Cowboys (1969-1972). He still holds four Chicago Bears receiving records; consecutive games with a reception (49), TD receptions in one game (4), receptions by rookie (56) and most TD receptions by a rookie (12).
Ditka has won three Super Bowls, as player (Dallas – Super Bowl VI), as an assistant coach (Dallas – Super Bowl XII) and as a head coach (Chicago – Super Bowl XX). He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
His name is synonymous with the Chicago Bears. “Da Coach or Iron Mike” played for and coached the Chicago Bears for 17 seasons. In 1982, Coach Halas named Ditka, the 9th Head Coach in the history of the Chicago Bears. He coached the Bears from 1982 to 1992, compiling a win-loss record of 112 to 68 during that time. He guided the Bears to six NFC Central Divisional titles, in addition to three NFC title games. His ’85 Bears won the NFL crown in Super Bowl XX. The ’85 Bears are considered amongst the NFL’s “Best Ever Team” going 18-1 that year. Twice, Ditka was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year (’85 and ’88). From 1985-1988, he led the Bears to 52 wins—the most ever by an NFL team in a four-year span in NFL history. He left the Bears football organization in 1992.
Ditka returned to coaching in the NFL as Head Coach for the New Orleans Saints from 1997 to 2000.
Today, Ditka also shares his drive and team-building skills with audiences across the country. In his presentations “ACE” – Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm, he shares the lessons learned in a life of commitment and attention to the fundamentals—resulting in victory. He delivers a powerful presentation that highlights the key characteristics people need to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Currently, Ditka is a commentator and analyst for ESPN, a restaurateur, an actor, a commercial spokesperson and an avid golfer. He is involved with many charitable organizations, including Misericordia, a residential facility for mentally and physically challenged youths.
Ditka resides in Naples and Chicago with his wife, Diana.