Darnell Autry, a prominent member of Northwestern University’s 1996 Rose Bowl team and a former Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles player, will serve as Grand Marshal for Northwestern’s 2015 Homecoming Parade.

The Arizona-based radio and television show host, business executive and Northwestern alumnus will be joined by many of his former teammates to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Wildcats team that played in the 1996 Rose Bowl.

As this year’s grand marshal, Autry will ride in the lead car and wave to spectators gathered along the route during the 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, parade as it moves south from the intersection of Sheridan Road and Lincoln Street, to Chicago Avenue and Sheridan Road.

The 2015 parade theme is “Where the Wildcats Are” — a takeoff on Maurice Sendak’s popular children’s picture book, “Where the Wild Things Are.” 

It will be the second time Autry will lead the parade. He also served as the Homecoming Parade marshal in 2005.

Autry also will be an honored guest during the celebratory events planned for the University’s Evanston campus during the Oct. 16-17 Homecoming weekend, including the 6:45 p.m. Pep Rally in Deering Meadow, which follows the parade. Deering Meadow is the two acres of open green space between the Charles Deering Library at 1970 Campus Drive and Sheridan Road.

During the rally, Autry will announce the results of the Homecoming court voting and the names of this year’s homecoming king and queen.

The 2015 Homecoming Royalty Court members include seniors Eliza Abramson, Alexandria Bobbitt, Kayla Brackett, Danny Callison, Malik Dent, Pear Dhiantravan, Nevil George, Diego Henriquez-Garcia, Haley Hinkle, Brad McCandless, Kenny Mok and Iheoma Nkemere.

Both the 6 p.m. Friday Homecoming Parade and 6:45 p.m. Pep Rally are open to the public, as is the 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 Homecoming game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Northwestern’s Ryan Field.

The Homecoming game will be televised nationally. A limited number of tickets to the game remain available for purchase online at NUsports.com.

Autry left Northwestern at the end of his junior year in 1996 to begin an acting career and play football professionally. He went on to play for the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Following the end of his three-year National Football League career, Autry focused on establishing a career as an actor. He appeared in multiple episodes of the television series “What I Like About You,” as well as an episode of the CBS television drama “The District.” He also made a national “Tylenol 8-Hour” commercial in 2000.

In 2005, Autry re-enrolled in the School of Communication as a full-time undergraduate student, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 2006. Today Autry owns his own film and TV production company, Team Autry Productions, which is based in Tempe, Ariz.

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