South Orangetown Central School District

South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School are pleased to welcome Tappan Zee High School alumnus and former National Football League player Blaise Winter (Class of ’80) home this week!

“I am proud to be home,” Winter told students in grades 9-11 during an assembly this morning. “There are so many stories here. I would be nothing without what these hallways mean to me and I am grateful for what I was challenged with because it has made me who I am.”

As a child, Winter underwent surgeries to correct a cleft lip and palate and to remove tumors that resulted in partial hearing loss. He faced bullying and struggled with self confidence. Discovering football changed his life.

As a high school senior, Winter was a captain of the TZ Football team. A walk on at Syracuse University, he was named the team’s 1983 MVP and went on to be the second-round draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts in 1984. Winter spent more than a decade in the NFL as a defensive end for the Colts, San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers, before moving on to coach at the University of Central Florida and, eventually, embark on a career as a motivational speaker. He was inducted into the TZ Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

Throughout the week, Winter is speaking with students about overcoming adversity, finding one’s champions and setting goals at in-school events and will perform the coin toss at the TZ Varsity Football home game this Friday, October 13, at 6:30PM.

Blaise Winter Speaks at TZHS