Mel Blount drives the ball on the River Course as folks gather to play with football stars and legends during the 15th Annual John Stallworth Celebrity Golf Tournament Friday, June 2, 2017 at the Robert Trent Jones golf course in Huntsville, Ala. It was a chance to golf with Pro-Football Hall of Famers, former Pittsburgh Steelers and players from other NFL teams, and Alabama and Auburn alumni who gathered on the golf course. Proceeds from this event assist academically gifted students who are awarded scholarships to attend 4-year colleges and universities in the state of Alabama and A&M University. (Eric Schultz/[email protected]) AL.com
By Skip Vaughn
An annual benefit golf tournament in the name of NFL Hall of Famer John Stallworth will end its run in June.
The 17th John Stallworth Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament is scheduled for June 14 at 8 at Hampton Cove in Huntsville. Proceeds from this event benefit the foundation’s work in providing scholarships for students at Alabama A&M University, Stallworth’s alma mater, and other colleges. More than $550,000 in scholarship assistance has been provided.
This is the last year of the tournament, but the foundation will continue its charitable work with activities such as the Legends Round Table.
The tournament usually has around 25 celebrities and about 150 other players. Hampton Cove has been the usual venue through the years.
“As we’ve gotten close to this final Stallworth golf tournament, I think back over the years of all the people who’ve played a part in this,” Stallworth said today at a news conference at Genesis II, which manages the Stallworth family’s investments and serves as an umbrella for his philanthropic work.
Stallworth said it fills him with joy to think about the students who “we’ve been able to help.” The scholarships have helped students who went on to graduate from college without any debt. Stallworth gives credit to the foundation, rather than just himself.
“My wife (Flo) is the heart of this organization,” he said.
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Brittney Christian, a scholarship recipient, shared her thoughts at last year’s tournament pairings party.
“They’re the only scholarship foundation that’s this family oriented,” she said. “They reach out. They know who we are as people. We’re not just somebody they give money to.”
Stallworth, drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, played from 1974-87 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, the same year the charity golf tournament started. Among the perennial returning celebrities in Mel Blount, a former Steelers teammate and fellow Hall of Famer.
“I love coming to Huntsville and for a lot of reasons,” Blount said by phone during the press conference. “I think Huntsville’s a great place and a great part of the country. And also because of great people like John Stallworth and his wife, Flo, and the great work that they’re doing.”
Stallworth was asked about the celebrities’ golf skills during the tournament years. “They’re all football players, their golf game is nonexistent,” he quipped. But he did say two or three guys have “a really nice game.”
He explained why this year’s tournament is the last.
“I just feel like it’s run its course,” Stallworth said. “Our goal was to build an endowment and we’ve done that. It’s well over $ 1 million. It’s run its course. We feel it’s an appropriate time to stop.”
This year’s celebrities include Chris Anderson, John Banaszak, Blount, Robin Cole, Dick Conn, Randy Fuller, Reggie Garrett, Anthony Grant, Bobby Lee Harden, James Harris, Rashad Johnson, Frank Lewis, Louis Lipps, Greg Lloyd, Ronald McKinnon, Spike McRoy, Michael Merriweather, Edmund Nelson, Jerraud Powers, Donnie Shell, Richard Shelton, Dwight Stephenson, Cliff Stoudt, Tim Stowers, Mike Wagner (tentative) and Stallworth.