At a ceremony Friday night, Lovington High announced the renaming of its high school football field to Brian Urlacher Field, after the NFL Hall of Famer and Wildcat graduate.
The celebration honored Urlacher's professional success and his support for Lovington athletics. A guest at the ceremony, Urlacher thanked the district, fans, and supporters, and said what he learned in Lovington set the groundwork for his future.
"My career started here -- I used to watch guys out here in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade," Urlacher said on FOX34 Football Friday, "and played here throughout my high school career. It's awesome to come back and have this honor tonight."
For student-athletes who want to follow Urlacher's path to college football, he advised stay healthy, put the work in, and do well academically.
"A lot of kids don't realize you have to go to school and get good grades to keep playing on the field, but number one is you gotta put the work in. If you get in the weight room and do the right things on and off the field, you'll have a chance to play in college."
Urlacher stressed the most important thing high school football taught him was discipline.
"You have to be on time, you have to do things the right way, you had to follow a regimen. Hard work was instilled young in me by my coaches and my parents," Urlacher said. "You learn at a young age what it'd take to be successful, but you get in the routine -- not just in high school, but 8th and 9th grade leading up to high school -- and learn how you gotta do things to be successful."
Urlacher said he was grateful for the field going up in his name, a school where he won the state championship his senior year and launched his career.
"So many good memories -- more good than bad, thank goodness," Urlacher said. "The best thing was playing in front of these fans. Friday nights, there's nothing much to do in this town, so people came to the games to watch football."
After Lovington, Urlacher earned a scholarship to the University of New Mexico. The Chicago Bears drafted him in 2000. He played in the Pro Bowl eight times, led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, and retired in 2013. Urlacher was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2018.