SALT LAKE CITY — Former University of Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles made history Monday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars guard gave $750,000 to his alma mater’s football program, the largest donation ever made by a former player. The gift includes a designation of $500,000 to the Zane Beadles Sports Medicine Center and $250,000 to the Zane Beadles Offensive Line Scholarship.
“This is something I’ve known I wanted to do ever since I left school. The University of Utah was such a great place for me. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the University of Utah,” Beadles said in a university press release announcing the donation. “I am excited to pledge this money to the U. and give back to the place that helped shape me into the man I am today. I’d like to thank all of the professors, coaches and support staff at the University of Utah. It was a great 4 1/2 years of my life and I’ll always be a Ute.”
Beadles, who signed with Jacksonville as a free agent last march after four seasons with the Denver Broncos, was a four-year starter and three-time all-conference honoree at Utah before entering the NFL draft in 2010. The academic All-American earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2009.
“We are very thankful to Zane for his generous donation,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in the announcement. “Zane was an outstanding student-athlete and community member during his time here and is another in a long line of former players to give back to our university. He is a great source of pride to all of us at Utah and we are appreciative of his loyalty and generosity.”
Utah athletics director Dr. Chris Hill noted that Beadles makes a difference in everything he undertakes — academically, athletically and in the community.
“That is the kind of person Zane Beadles is and we are thrilled he has chosen to continue to impact the University of Utah in a positive manner with his gift to our program,” Hill said in the announcement.
Beadles joins several other former Utes in making major donations over the past couple of years. Previous football donors include Jordan Gross ($500,000), Alex Smith ($500,000), Steve Smith ($400,000) and Paul Soliai ($250,000). Major basketball gifts were donated by Andre Miller ($500,000) and Andrew Bogut ($125,000).