At Benton Community High School in Van Horne, Iowa, Hennings won the state heavyweight wrestling championship as a senior. He chose to attend the Air Force Academy and play football despite being offered athletic scholarships by many other schools.
In 1987, his senior year at Air Force, he led the nation in sacks with 24 and earned unanimous All-America recognition. He also received the Outland Trophy, given to the country’s outstanding lineman. He was named to the Western Athletic Conference’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s. Because of his remarkable accomplishments, he was elected to the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 1999 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Though drafted by the Cowboys in 1988, Hennings postponed his entry into the National Football League to fulfill his commitment to the Air Force. He entered the Euro-NATO program, a training program for top pilots, and soon found himself at the controls of the A-10 Thunderbolt, nicknamed the “Warthog.”
During his four-year stint with the Air Force, Hennings flew 45 missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq, an effort that helped provide relief and humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees.
Then, in 1992, Hennings joined the Cowboys, eventually becoming a starter. He spent his entire nine-year professional career with Dallas, retiring in 2001 with a neck injury after playing on three Super Bowl championship teams.
Since his retirement from the NFL, Hennings has found success as an investor, management consultant and motivational speaker. He established Wingmen Ministries, a Christian men’s group, in Dallas-Fort Worth and is active in community affairs, including serving on the board of directors for Happy Hill Farm Academy, which is a Christian residential school for at-risk kids.
His second book, which details what he has learned about men and their relationships, is called “Rules of Engagement: Finding Faith and Purpose in a Disconnected World” and will be released in January. His autobiography, “It Takes Commitment,” was published in 1996.
Chad and his wife, Tammy, have a son, Chase, and a daughter, Brenna. They currently reside in Flower Mound, Texas.