Dak Prescott started a foundation in honor of his late mother
Dak Prescott holds one of the highest profile positions in the NFL — quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys — but off the field, he is a devoted son to his father, Nathaniel Prescott, and his late mother, Peggy Prescott.
The couple welcomed Dak in July 1993 after having their older sons, Thaddeus "Tad" and Jace. Around the time Dak started elementary school, Nathaniel and Peggy divorced.
According to Tad, Dak was particularly close to their late mother, who died from colon cancer in 2013. The star athlete spent plenty of time with Peggy growing up, and after he left for college at Mississippi State University in 2011, they still communicated constantly.
"Even when he was in college, they spoke every day," Tad told ESPN.
Dak created an organization in Peggy's honor shortly after her death and was named the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his foundation's work on cancer research. In his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to his mom.
"I want to acknowledge the person who has had the biggest influence on my life, my mother, Peggy," he said. "My mother was, and still is my moral compass. And through my own charitable contributions, I seek to share her strength and courage with the world."
"She was one of a kind," he added. "My mother inspired me and motivated me to be great beyond the circumstances."
Dak also has a close bond with his dad, Nathaniel. “Me and my dad have always had a tight relationship, different from my brothers, I guess,” Dak told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2017. “He has always been there for me.”
Here’s everything to know about Dak Prescott's parents, Nathaniel and Peggy Prescott.
Nathaniel and Peggy met in high school
Dak's parents were high school sweethearts who started dating in 1979. The pair eventually split but still maintained a friendship.
“Peggy and I divorced but that didn’t separate my relationship with my kids,” Nathaniel told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2017. “Also, Peggy and I still had a standing date every Wednesday after our divorce. We were the best of friends. We just wasn’t the couple anymore.”
On In Depth With Graham Bensinger in 2020, Dak said Nathaniel considered Peggy his “best friend" even after their divorce.
They welcomed three children
Nathaniel and Peggy had three sons together. Their oldest son, Thaddeus (affectionately known as "Tad"), was followed by Jace and Dak.
After their parent's separation, the three boys grew up with Peggy in a three-bedroom trailer in Haughton, a small town in Louisiana.
During an interview on In Depth With Graham Bensinger in 2020, Dak admitted that he and his brothers competed for “anything and everything” when they were younger. Still, the siblings were tight-knit.
“Being the youngest, they're five or six years older than me, so I always had to prove myself,” he recalled. “From seeing who could eat Oreos the fastest to throwing the football down the football field to just playing basketball or whatever, it was always a competition."
Nathaniel was a football player
Dak got his football genes from his dad. After growing up in Louisiana, Nathaniel played defensive end and outside linebacker at Grambling State University, according to a 2017 interview with the Dallas Cowboys.
Injuries derailed his career, but he passed on his affinity for the game to his sons. Tad and Jace were star players at Haughton High School, per The Clarion-Ledger.
Tad continued his passion for football after graduation as an offensive lineman at Northwestern State University before his playing days were cut short by a "season ending injury" in 2009.
Peggy was a supportive mom
Peggy may not have played football, but she was an avid fan, even getting a tattoo of a football with the number three inside of it as a tribute to her sons.
Her boys remember her being a vocal fixture at all their games, from childhood leagues to college.
"With the cannon going off on the football field and people yelling, you could still hear my mom's sharp whistle over everybody,” Tad told ESPN in 2013. “She was not the mom that sat under a blanket and kept her mouth shut the entire game. You could hear her screaming, 'Hit him!' "
“She was the ultimate football mom,” Nathaniel said during an interview with Graham Bensinger in 2020. “She went from knowing football in high school because I played to being an authoritarian on football. And Dak said sometimes it’s a little embarrassing because she would call the coach and let them have it.”
Even after her cancer diagnosis, Peggy still made the trip from Louisiana to Mississippi for Dak's home games.
Peggy died in 2013
Dak learned that his mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in the summer of 2012, and a year and a half later, she died on Nov. 3, 2013, at the age of 52.
The NFL star made an appearance on the Today show in 2023 to advocate for colon cancer testing and lit up when recalling memories with his mom.
He said he remembers Peggy as a woman who was “very selfless, hardworking, loved her boys, did anything for her three boys." He added, "I am who I am because of my mom."
“I learned so many lessons from watching my mom fight colon cancer,” Dak wrote on his foundation’s website. “Her courage and fight through that whole battle just showed me how mentally tough one person can be.”
Dak has continued to use his platform to honor Peggy. He points to the sky after touchdowns as a nod to his mom, and he wears the No. 4 on his jersey to represent her birthday on September 4.
Nathaniel moved to be closer to his son
The family patriarch worked as a city bus driver in Austin for a few years before moving to Frisco, Texas, just a few miles from Dak.
“He wanted to be in Dallas. I wanted him to be in Dallas,” Nathaniel told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2017. “It’s more convenient. He’s there for me. If I need something, he helps me out and gets it done."
Dak started a foundation in Peggy's honor
Dak continues to be guided by his mother's mantra, “Faith. Fight. Finish." and named his foundation after her saying.
According to its website, Faith Fight Finish “invests in the future of our youth by empowering individuals, families, and communities to find strength through adversity.” Funding cancer research and providing mental health support are the foundation's main goals.
“Losing my mom and watching her fight motivated me," Dak wrote. "As much as I can raise awareness and educate people on how to get ahead of cancer, showing how to make your adversity your inspiration is probably the most significant goal."
After his brother Jace died by suicide on April 23, 2020, Dak also expanded the work of his foundation to include prevention services.
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