Organizers expect 25 to 30 NFL players and coaches at the event this summer at Avalon Lakes.
By JOHN BASSETTI
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HOWLAND - Korey Stringer may never have played golf at Avalon Lakes Golf Course, but now a tournament in his memory has been planned for this summer.
The Korey Stringer/Outback Steakhouse Memorial Golf Charity Classic is scheduled for June 11 at the course to raise funds for organizations that the late NFL player considered important during his lifetime.
That life ended in August, 2001 during training camp with the Minnesota Vikings. Stringer was 27 when he died from heatstroke.
"We are looking forward to having approximately 25 to 30 NFL players and coaches who will be teamed with area golfers," said Steve Arnold, the Korey Stringer Foundation director. "The players responded immediately."
The lineup: Some of the players expected are those who shared the offensive line with Stringer, along with Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, wide receiver Randy Moss, Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans, Warren Sapp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Todd Steussie of the Carolina Panthers, Randy Galloway and Dan Wilkinson.
"All monies received from the golf outing will be donated to four of Korey's favorite charities," Arnold said of the Rebecca Williams Community House, Warren Youth Baseball, Warren Little Raiders and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Because of Stringer's dedication to youth programs and community service, the foundation has linked the "Keeping the Vision Alive" theme with the golf classic.
In conjunction with the event -- a tribute to the "gentle giant" -- a free football camp for approximately 200 youths has been planned for June 10 at Warren Harding High, where Stringer played when the Raiders won the Division I state football championship in 1990.
NFL players and coaches and some college coaches will serve as instructors, said Arnold, a friend of Stringer's through the Rebecca Williams center.
"We're excited about having this event in Korey's hometown and especially to keep Korey's vision alive," Arnold said during a press conference Tuesday in the board room of Avalon Holdings Corp.
Avalon Holdings chairman and CEO Ron Klingle was seated alongside Arnold, tournament organizers Jesse "Fred" Hines and Vincent Peterson and Warren attorney Sam Kragalott.
Klingle is donating the course and facilities, while Kragalott serves as a liaison between the foundation and business community.
Friendship: Although Hines graduated from Warren Harding before Stringer's arrival via the consolidation with Warren Western Reserve High School, the two became friends during their Warren Youth Baseball days. They hooked up a few years later in Columbus where Hines had moved in 1993. Hines and Stringer were neighbors when the latter played at Ohio State, and, along with LeShun Daniels -- another Harding graduate who played for the Buckeyes -- became computer business partners.
Hines wasn't sure whether Stringer played at Avalon before, but he didn't think the standout NFL lineman was a good golfer.
"How could you not consider this location," Arnold said of Avalon because of its proximity to Stringer's hometown.
Even before his death, Arnold said that Stringer had discussed a combination camp/golf outing.
"This is something I wanted to do. If he were alive, he'd be doing it," Arnold said.
The foundation is shooting to raise $20,000 -- ideally $5,000 for each of the four charities. Arnold said it has the full support of the Stringer family.
On Tuesday, Arnold said he wouldn't entertain questions about Kelci Stringer's pending lawsuit against the Vikings and NFL. Kelci is Stringer's widow.
Applications: Peterson said the football camp is open to the first 200 applicants ages 8-15. Response sheets will be made available at schools and libraries and also through area newspapers.
The golf outing is limited to the first 120 applicants. There's a variety of sponsorship packages, ranging from corporate to individual.
Questions about applications may be referred to Arnold at (330) 898-7155, Peterson (330) 609-8473 or Hines (614) 537-9608.