By DAVID BORAKS
For a while Monday morning it seemed like Stephen and Dell Curry and dozens of other golfers might never get around to teeing off at the Curry Celebrity Classic at River Run Country Club. There were photos to be taken, hands to be shaken and old friends to visit with. But then, after a mass photo with all the sports celebrities and other golfers, the 30 or so foursomes loaded into carts and headed onto the course.
It was the third year for the Curry Celebrity Classic, which Davidson basketball star turned NBA standout Stephen Curry organizes with his retired NBA star dad. While it was a chance to play some golf on a beautiful late-spring day, it also was a fund-raiser, bringing in a net $65,000 for the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.
The non-profit Ada Jenkins Center offers a variety of community services to people in need in north Mecklenburg and south Iredell – from free medical and dental clinics to social services to the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry. As a student at Davidson College several years ago, Stephen Curry got involved with the center’s LearnWorks after-school program.
In interview before teeing off Monday, Mr. Curry said that volunteer work left an impression. “I fell in love with the kids and hanging out with them,” he said. The annual Curry Celebrity Classic tournament is about “being able to give some money back and some resources to help them continue to support and serve those young people.”
Georgia Krueger, Ada Jenkins Center’s executive director, said the Curry golf tournament has become one of the center’s three most important annual fund-raisers. The others are “Fire,” a barbecue-themed festival and road race in September, and a January gala called “Ice.”
Altogether, the big events supply about 20 percent of the center’s $1 million-plus annual budget. And the money is badly needed. The center’s various services now serve about 19,000 clients, she said. That’s up steeply in the past few years.
“The need continues to grow,” Ms. Krueger said. “Our hope for this next year is we will be able to have less focus on keeping up on growth and more focus on doing all we can for individual families.”
Monday’s tournament included foursomes that mixed one sport celebrity with three amateurs. Big names wielding golf clubs included NBA players Muggsy Bogues, Rodney Monroe and Mike Gminski; NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett; NFL players Phil Crosby, Frank Garcia, Tim McKyer, Muhsin Muhammad, Willie Green, and Adrian Murrell; and baseball shortstop Tony Womack, who played on the 2001 Arizona Diamonbacks’ world champion team.
Local basketball names were in abundance. Seth Curry, the Duke University basketball star and brother of Steph, also was there. So was John Kilgo, the radio voice of Davidson Wildcats basketbal.
There were prizes, including a shot at a car supplied Lamborghini Carolinas and Hendrick Automotive Group for a hole in one.
Cornerstone Financial Partners was the tournament’s lead sponsor. Other business supporters included Profit Insight, The Stoner Group of UBS Financial Services, Joe Gibbs Racing, The Hendricks Group and Sunn Enterprises.
WANT TO KNOWW MORE?
Find out more about the Ada Jenkins Center at www.adajenkins.org