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Joe Ehrmann
No. 76
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1949-03-29) March 29, 1949 (age 75)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:254 lb (115 kg)
Career information
High school:Riverside (NY)
NFL draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR

Joseph Charles Ehrmann (born March 29, 1949) is a former National Football League (NFL) defensive lineman, originally drafted as the 10th pick in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft out of Syracuse University to the Baltimore Colts. Ehrmann is currently the President of the InSideOut Initiative. Ehrmann played with Baltimore for eight years as a member of the "Sack Pack," and finished his NFL career with the Detroit Lions as part of their vaunted Silver Rush defensive line in the early 1980s. He was an NFL defensive tackle from 1973 through 1982. He then played in the USFL for the Chicago Blitz, Arizona Wranglers and Orlando Renegades.

Recognition and awards

Ehrmann was named to Syracuse University's All-Century Football Team, and lettered in lacrosse. He received the Arents’ Award, SU's Most Distinguished Alumni honor for his contributions to society. He was the NFL's first Ed Block Courage Award Recipient. He has been named “The Most Important Coach in America” by Parade Magazine and the Institute of International Sport chose Joe as one of The Most Influential Sports Educators in America.

The Baltimore Business Journal selected Ehrmann as the Renaissance Person of the Decade for his dedication and commitment to Baltimore City's betterment. He was the National Fatherhood Initiative's Man of the Year and the Frederick Douglass National Man of the Year for empowering youth to prevent rape and other forms of male violence and improving lives of children by helping fathers become more involved.

Syracuse University

Ehrmann attended Syracuse University, where he was a three-year football letterman in 1969, 1970 and 1972.[1] Primarily a defensive tackle, he was an All-American selection in 1970. He was named to the university's football All-Century Team on October 28, 1999.[2] He was also the recipient of the George Arents Pioneers Medal, the university's highest alumni honor, in 2004[3] and also lettered in lacrosse.

Service off the field

In 1978, Ehrmann watched his 19-year-old brother Billy lose his five-month battle with cancer. This experience caused Ehrmann to rethink and reorder his priorities in life. Ehrmann spearheaded the construction of a Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore in memory of Billy, becoming a founding board member. In the off-season, Ehrmann attended classes at Dallas Theological Seminary and, following his football career, he attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, specializing in urban ministry. He was ordained in 1985.

In the years since then, Ehrmann created Building Men and Women for Others, an organization that addresses many societal challenges including violence, child advocacy, and much more. He also co-founded "The Door," a Baltimore community-based ministry addressing individual and family needs, promoting equity in education, social justice, racial reconciliation, and economic development. He also served as a preaching pastor of the 4,000-member Grace Fellowship Church in Baltimore.

After The Door, Ehrmann founded Coach for America in 2003 to inform, inspire and initiate individual, community and societal change through sports and coaching. The goal of CFA was to create a tipping point in the world of sports where coaches, educational institutions and sport organizations support and implement the idea that the physical, social, emotional and moral well-being of players are no longer considered beyond the scope of what sports and coaches can or should accomplish. Through a strategic and intentional focus, Joe developed InSideOut Coaching as part of a multi-systemic prevention and intervention model to assist the healthy development of youth and communities.  

InSideOut Initiative

Ehrmann is the President of the InSideOut Initiative, an evidenced-based, systems-level approach that inspires and catalyzes communities to transform the current “win-at-all-costs” interscholastic sports culture to one that values the human growth and development of student-athletes.

InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives

Ehrmann is the author of the book InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives which provides the basis for purpose-based athletics: connecting student-athletes to transformational coaches, in a nurturing community for their social, emotional and character development.

Season of Life

Prompted by an article about the demolition of the Colts' Memorial Stadium, author Jeffrey Marx (who first met and was inspired by Ehrmann as a ball boy for the Baltimore Colts) reconnected with Ehrmann and became fascinated both with his ministry and his work as a volunteer football coach at Gilman School, an all-boys school in Baltimore. Joe and his friend Biff Poggi developed a coaching philosophy to develop healthy masculinity, relationship development and to promote social justice.

In 2004, Marx's book Season of Life was published, featuring the Gilman football team and Joe's transformational coaching. The book became a New York Times best-seller.

Personal life

Ehrmann is a father of four.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "All-time Football Letterwinners – Syracuse University Athletics". Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  2. ^ ""Syracuse University Football All Century Team Named," Syracuse University Athletics, Thursday, October 28, 1999". 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  3. ^ "Joe Ehrmann, Football, 1969–72 (profile) – Syracuse University Athletics". 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  4. ^ "Breaking the Male Code on Livestream". 2013-03-26. Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  5. ^ "Joe Ehrmann to speak at FUMA". Fork Union Military Academy. Retrieved 2008-10-27.

Further reading