Chad attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he played defensive tackle for the Falcons. He won the Outland Trophy in his senior year in 1987. After graduating from the Air ForceAcademy in June 1988, Hennings completed undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base. He became an A-10 pilot and deployed twice to the Persian Gulf, flying combat missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort, an effort to provide humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq.
After completing his active duty service, Hennings played nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, the team that selected him in the eleventh round of the 1988 NFL draft, despite having no assurance that Hennings would ever play professional football because of his Air Force commitment. Hennings won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys.
Chad is a member of the Air Force Academy Athletics Hall of Fame, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and the College Football Hall of Fame. Chad and his wife, Tammy, have two children, Chase and Brenna.