Nicholas A. Buoniconti Biography
Founder, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Founder, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
Nicholas A. Buoniconti is a man of action. He sees challenges and attacks them with the same vigor that made him a National Football League Hall of Fame linebacker and a two-time World Champion. He now focuses that same drive and determination into several diverse careers.
While most today find it difficult to balance one career, Nick Buoniconti has balanced many over the years. As a young football professional, he juggled the rigors of a sports career and law school, then a law practice. He is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School, and to this day is a member of the Bar in both Florida and in Massachusetts.
For twenty-three seasons Mr. Buoniconti was co-host of the longest running, critically acclaimed, weekly television sports show “Inside the NFL” on the HBO cable network. Over the years he has held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer of UST, a Fortune 500 company, served on the UST Board of Directors and was Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman of Columbia Laboratories, an AMEX listed pharmaceutical research and development company.
Buoniconti has also served as an outside director for The Sports Authority, American Bankers Insurance Company, Nine West Group, Inc. and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the United Service Organization (USO), to name a few.
As remarkable as his career has been in sports, business and broadcasting, Mr. Buoniconti’s most challenging foe has turned into his passion and driving force. Since his son Marc suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in 1985, he has focused most of his attention on raising awareness of, and funds for, spinal cord injury research. He helped found, and serves as a national spokesman and fundraiser for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He and his family also founded The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis to help The Miami Project achieve its national and international goal of finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. To that end, through the direct involvement of the Buonicontis, more than $350 million has been raised in support of The Miami Project’s research programs. In that time The Miami Project has grown to become internationally recognized as the leading research center for spinal cord injuries in the world.
An All-American linebacker and team captain at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Buoniconti was drafted by the Boston Patriots in 1962 and was an All-AFL choice in five of his seven seasons with the Patriots. In 1969, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he was an All-Pro Linebacker. Mr. Buoniconti was captain of the famous Dolphins’ No-Name Defense and anchored the defensive team in the undefeated season of 1972 that went on to become Super Bowl champions in 1972 and 1973. He was named to the Pro Bowl team both years, and his teammates voted him Most Valuable Dolphin in 1973. He retired from football in 1976 as a six- time All-AFL selection, as a member of the all-time AFL team, and with eight Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. On August 4, 2001, Nick Buoniconti was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He is also a member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame and the Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame.
Mr. Buoniconti has been the recipient of numerous awards for career achievement and philanthropy including: Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Distinguished Citizen’s Award, “Man of the Year” by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the “Ernie Davis Award” by the Leukemia Society of America, “Career Achievement Award” by the Leukemia Society of America, “Career Achievement Award” by the NFL Alumni, “Thurman Munson Award” by the Association for the Help of Retarded Children, “Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award” by Suffolk University Law School, “Professional Athlete Award for Courage” by the Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs of Newark, “Medal of Honor Award,” The 52 Association for the Handicapped, “Louis E. Seidman Human Relations Award” by the American Jewish Committee, “Leadership in Business Award,” Italo-American Association of New York, “Man of the Year Helping Hands Award” from the University of Miami School of Medicine, as well as an Honorary Degree from Suffolk University received in May, 1993, an Honorary Degree from Roger Williams University received in May, 1995, an Honorary Degree from Iona College in April, 2003, and the Medal of Honor at Ellis Island in May, 2005.
- 2003-2007 Member, Board of Directors, Plum TV
- 1998-2007 Member, Board of Directors, TravelCLICK, Inc.
- 1996-2000 Member, Board of Directors, The Sports Authority
- 1993-1999 Member, Board of Directors, American Bankers Insurance Company
- 1992-1998 Vice Chairman, Board of Directors & Chief Operation Officer, Columbia Laboratories, Miami, Florida
- 1995-1996 Member, Board of Directors, Innkeepers USA
- 1992-1995 Member, Board of Directors, Simmons Outdoor Corporation
- 1994-1995 Member, Board of Directors, Nine West Group, Inc.
- 1987-1989 President and Chief Operating Officer, UST, Greenwich, Connecticut
- 1985-1987 President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Tobacco, Greenwich, Connecticut
- 1978-1989 Member of the Board of Director, UST, Greenwich, Connecticut
Professional Achievements in Law
- Member of the Bar, States of Florida and Massachusetts
- Private Law Practice: Miami, Florida, 1971-1983, 1990-1994
Past and Present Affiliations
- Member of University of Miami Iron Arrow
- Member, Board of Trustees, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 1992-Present
- Member, Board of Directors, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
- Member, Board of Directors, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
- Member, Board of Governors of Riviera Country Club
- Member, Board of Governors (former Member), United Service Orgnization (USO)
- The Sorin Society, University of Notre Dame, 1983-present
- Summa Society, Suffolk University Law School
- Congressional Medal of Honor Society Distinguished Citizen Award 2013
- Medal of Honor, Ellis Island, 2005
- Honorary Degree, Iona College, 2003
- Honorary Degree, Roger Williams University, 1995
- Honorary Degree, Suffolk University Law School, 1993
- National Father of the Year Award, Variety Children’s Charity, 1993
- Ernie Davis Award, American Leukemia Society, 1991
- Man of the Year Award, The Walter Camp Football Foundation, 1990
- Career Achievement Award, NFL Alumni, 1990
- Louis E. Seidman Human Relations Award, The American Jewish Committee, 1988
- Medal of Honor Award, The 52 Association for the Handicapped, 1988
- Professional Athlete Award for Courage, Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs of Newark, 1988
- Thurman Munson Award, Association for the Help of Retarded Children, 1988
- Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award, Suffolk University Law School, 1987
- Man of the Year “Helping Hands Award,” University of Miami School of Medicine, 1987
- Leadership in Business Award, Coalition of Italo-American Associations, Inc., 1986
- National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, inducted 11/9/85
- Sports Commentary “ACE Award” for Inside the NFL, 1983
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2001
- Named All-Time American Football League Middle Linebacker
- Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame
- Patriots Hall of Fame
- Miami Dolphins 1969-1976
- Defensive Linebacker, Captain of the “No Name Defense,” 1970-1976
- Key player during Dolphins’ 1972 undefeated season and for back-to-back Super Bowl Championships, 1972, 1973
- Voted “Most Valuable Dolphin” by teammates, 1973
- Named All-Pro 1972, 1973
- A.F.L. All-Pro Team, 1969
- Boston Patriots 1962-1968
- All-Pro Linebacker for 5 of 7 seasons
- University of Notre Dame 1958-1962
- Team Captain and Football All-American, University of Notre Dame, 1961
- HBO Cable Television 1979-2002
- Co-Host of the award winning weekly television sports show Inside the NFL
- J.D., Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, 1968
- B.A., University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, 1962
- Cathedral High School, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1958
- How to Play Defense, 1973, co-authored with Dick Anderson
- Nick Buoniconti Named Among Top 50 Greatest Players in Miami Dolphins Franchise History (12/12/2015)