Retired Special Olympics Illinois CEO David Breen ’88 Joins Redbird Buzz – News

David Breen ’88, an alumnus of Illinois State University, joins us Redbird Buzz to share memories of his 37-year career with Special Olympics Illinois and how his experience as a recreation program management major prepared him for more than a decade as president and CEO of the organization.

Breen, winner of the 2024 Alumni Achievement Award, talks about his experience as an Illinois student who volunteered with Special Opportunities Available in Recreation (SOAR) in Bloomington-Normal before graduating in 1988. It was this work and the individuals he met through SOAR that inspired a life-long dedication to making sports and recreation accessible through Special Olympics Illinois.

Watch this episode to learn about Breen’s journey from a small-town farm to his time at Illinois State and president of Special Olympics Illinois to his retirement in 2023.

Redbird Buzz is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Transcripts of each episode are available online at