Skip to main content

Mark Brand To Be Honored At NFF Banquet April 23

Apr 18, 2022

Sun Devil Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Brand will be honored Saturday

A trio of prominent contributors, each with a special connection to football in Arizona, will be honored as "Distinguished Arizonans" at the 41st annual National Football Foundation (NFF) Valley of the Sun Chapter Scholar-Athlete Banquet. The honorees will join 23 high school and three college scholar-athletes at a gala event slated for midday Saturday, April 23, at Wild Horse Pass grand showroom. The event will be emceed by Brad Cesmat of sports360AZ.

Mark Brand will be joined by David Hines, Executive Director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), and Dan Manucci, head of "The Lab," for aspiring quarterbacks and co-host of the Roc and Manuch radio program on Fox Sports 910.

The honored adults will share the dais with the Class of 2022 scholar-athletes, identified as the best and brightest from the Valley and the surrounding northern region of the state. The young men were selected from nominations submitted by their football coaches, and the selection process was based upon excellence on the football field, academic achievement, and community service. The selection method is unchanged in the chapter's history.


Mark Brand is the longest tenured Media Relations Director in Arizona State University history and has positively influenced a countless number of athletes and students as ASU has grown into one of the largest universities in the U.S. Nine players and four coaches, making up the entirety of ASU's 13 College Football Hall of Fame members were inducted during Mark's tenure. Two-thirds of ASU's football All-Americans have been honored during his tenure. The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) presented Brand with its 25-Year Award in 2007. He has served as an Ex-Officio board member of the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation since 1985.

David Hines has held the position of AIA executive director since 2017. His official duties include oversight of finance, tournaments, on-field officiating, business operations, legal matters, and preparation and publishing of the annual financial report of the Association, which has 277 member schools representing each of Arizona's 15 counties. Hines oversaw the launch of the state's much-anticipated open-division football championship beginning in 2019. Hines is a 1977 physical education graduate of Arizona State.

Dan Manucci runs workout and life-lesson drills he calls "The Lab" for young quarterbacks from grade schoolers to college aged players. Among his nearly 100 pupils who have played in high school, college, and beyond are Bryce Perkins (Chandler H.S.) of Arizona State and University of Virginia, Darrell Garretson (Chandler) of Utah State and Oregon State, Tyler Shough (Hamilton), who recently transferred from Oregon to Texas Tech, and the Purdy brothers (Perry), Brock, now awaiting the NFL Draft after piloting Iowa State four years that included a victory in the 2021 Fiesta Bowl, and Chubba, a recent transfer from Florida State to Nebraska.

Manucci earned a football scholarship from Kansas State where he led the Big-8 Conference in passing his senior year and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the '79 NFL Draft. He played quarterback for Buffalo in 1979-80 and '87. Dan also played for the CFL Toronto Argonauts and USFL Arizona Wranglers. He is on the Advisory Board of the NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter, after having served six years as the chapter's executive director. Dan participates in the local NFL Retired Players Association, has co-hosted on radio with Muraco for more than 15 years.

Tables of 10 and individual seats for the banquet are available through the chapter website ( For any questions, please respond via

The 2022 class joins more than 1,000 previous NFF scholar-athletes honored by the chapter. The Valley of the Sun Chapter, founded in 1971, is recognized as one of the most active among 120 nationwide chapters.