Retired pro athletes coming to Springfield for fundraiser

Why settle for yet another barbecue or picnic when you can dine with a retired professional athlete and help a good cause this summer?

The sixth annual Dick LeBeau Legends Golf Classic, Saturday, July 15, will conclude with a dinner attended by nine former professional baseball, football and basketball players including an NFL Hall of Famer.

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The event, at Mitchell Hills Golf Club, 5350 Morris Rd., is a fundraiser with proceeds going to The United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.

While the golf tournament is sold out, the public is invited to attend the post-golf dinner at 6 p.m. The cost is $20 and includes the meal, the chance to interact with the athletes and get autographs.

Roosters is catering for free for a second consecutive year as it’s a charitable event. The tournament is sponsored by Grimone Insurance.

Event organizer Steve Stout formed this tournament from a previous one The Ohio Masonic Home ran for several years.

Former star pitcher Ned Garver was the tournament’s namesake in the first four years. He passed away this past February at age 91 and will be remembered during the event according to Stout.

“It will be kind of sad,” he said. “It meant a lot to him coming down here. Ned will be remembered and he tournament will go on.”

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LeBeau, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who coached the Cincinnati Bengals and helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator, has stepped in as the headliner.

The London native is about to enter his 59th consecutive season in the NFL and is currently the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Stout met him during LeBeau’s coaching days in Cincinnati and they’ve had a bond since.

“Dick is just a marvel,” Stout said. “He still shoots par and still hits from the back tees and he’ll turn 80 in September,” he said. “He’s a special person and loves to play here each summer.”

Among the former athletes attending will be former major leaguers Ed Whitson, Ron Nischwitz, Jon Warden and Galen Cisco, who also played football at Ohio State; former NFL players including Cleveland Browns all-pro offensive lineman and Buckeye Dick Schafrath and Urbana native Roger Wallace; NBA player George Wilson will round out the athletes.

Another former Cleveland Brown will be added to the players as well.

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Stout said another part of the event is to draw awareness to Mitchell Hills, which has struggled in recent years.

“We’re really proud of our event, where we play it and the people involved,” he said. “We’re also glad to help raise money for The United Way.”

For dinner reservations or more information, call Stout at 937-869-4553.

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