Joe Greene met his late wife Agnes, who died from breast cancer in 2015, when they were students at the University of North Texas.
So when he and three children, Major, Delon and JoQuel, were looking for a way to honor her memory, giving back to the school was the perfect solution.
The Greene's created the Agnes Lucille Craft Greene Memorial Scholarship, something that will be presented yearly to students at the school whose parents have battled cancer, with breast cancer being a particular focus since that tragically took Agnes' life.
"Not only the scholarship, but my kids, they wanted to honor their mother in that way, to put a scholarship in her name at her school that she loved so much, to provide assistance to young people whose parents also had issues with cancer," said Greene. "It's a doubly important angle. It's honoring her, and helping others. It's important for me that Agnes, her name will be serving a wonderful purpose at North Texas and students will have an opportunity to extend their education."
Greene will host the second annual Nibble and Mingle on Friday, June 29 at The Highland Dallas in Texas, the main fundraiser for the scholarship fund. The event is a mix of incredible food and celebrity guests, including some of Greene's former teammates like Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount, and other legends including Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Kenny Houston, Charles Haley, Randy White, and Cliff Harris.
"It means everything that these guys attend," said Greene. "I protested so many times during my career that the handle that I had was not really 'Mean.' Many of these guys that have reached out to help, they let me know that we are all right, they know I wasn't mean. They want to help however they can. Heck, if the words were true of me being mean, they would probably still help because the cause is a good cause."
The evening will feature culinary creations from John Tesar, a Top Chef alumni, as well as other chefs from the Dallas area. A live and silent auction will be held, and famed artist Jared Emerson will paint a live portrait that will be auctioned off that night.
It's only fitting on the heels of the event, the University of North Texas announced they will name a residence hall after Greene, who played there before being drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft. The hall is currently under construction, and set to open in 2019.
"Who would have thought that? That is what it is, wow. It is wow," said Greene. "It came as a complete surprise. I was not aware of it. Very, very pleased about it. It's something that…while playing football at North Texas I can say I never thought and pursued being an All-American, playing in the NFL and making it to the Hall of Fame. But if I am in the arena that means the possibility is there for those things to happen.
"But having my name on a dorm is way beyond the realm of possibility. You definitely don't think about those things. I am not a millionaire. I can't go out and build a building and put my name on it. That is special. It's real close to Mr. (Dan) Rooney asking me to present him at the Hall of Fame."