Ken O'Brien honored in football's home finale

Nov. 6, 2017

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DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis football’s 2017 home finale will serve as a tribute to former Aggie quarterback and 10-year NFL veteran Ken O’Brien, department officials announced on Monday. The Aggies will take the field against Big Sky Conference rival Southern Utah on that November 11 contest, which kicks off at 4 p.m.

O’Brien will be honored in the game along with the 1982 Aggie football team — one that includes current head coach Dan Hawkins as that squad's fullback —  which celebrates the 35th anniversary of its National Championship game appearance. O’Brien will also receive permanent recognition for his contributions to the Aggies as the first monument adorning the Aggie Pride Wall on the stadium press box.

Originally from nearby Jesuit High School, O’Brien started three seasons for the Aggies after transferring from Sacramento State. In his senior year of 1982, he captured first-team All-America honors from the National Football Coaches Association while helping UC Davis reach the NCAA Division II title game for the first time in school history. O’Brien set school records by finishing the season with 2,976 passing yards and 23 touchdowns that year.

O’Brien won the 1982-83 Colby E. “Babe” Slater Award as the school’s outstanding male athlete of the year. He also became the first Aggie to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, going as the 24th overall pick to the New York Jets during the “Year of the Quarterback” draft.

O’Brien played 10 years in the NFL, mostly with the Jets. He amassed 25,094 yards and 128 touchdowns, made the Pro Bowl in 1985 and 1991, captured six AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards, and was selected as the 1985 AFC Player of the Year by the Washington D.C. Touchdown Club. During the peak of this career, O’Brien returned to his alma mater for one more major accolade - his 1990 induction into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame.

In 1997, O’Brien entered the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first of three individuals from UC Davis to earn enshrinement: head coach Jim Sochor followed O’Brien into the HOF in 1999, while alumnus Mike Bellotti was inducted for his Oregon coaching career in 2014.

The game will also feature several key promotions related to O’Brien’s collegiate jersey number of 15. Tickets for Aggie Stadium’s west stands will be reduced to $15, while berm seats in the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Family Zone will be available for 15 for $15.

Tickets for the November 11 home finale are available by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley.

The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal, offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

Tickets for all UC Davis sports are available by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1, or by visiting us online at