PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) — Some NFL greats and University of Maryland Eastern Shore alumni will return to their roots on the Eastern Shore to help raise money for UMES’s Professional Golf Management Program and Division of Athletics by participating in the annual Art Shell UMES Celebrity Golf Classic and Junior Tournament June 11-12.

The event, which will occur at Great Hope Golf Course in Westover, Md., is hosted by NFL, UMES and CIAA Hall of Famer Art Shell.

Following the Junior Tournament, for golfers age 11 to 18 on June 11, Shell and other former NFL players, such as the UMES Golf Academy director and men’s golf head coach Marshall Cropper, will partner with foursomes to play in the 18-hole tournament June 12. They will attend an awards dinner in the Henson Center on campus that evening.

Cropper, the tournament’s director and a former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins, said the funds from the event go to building the PGA program and golf academy, as well as funding scholarships.

Often, we don’t make enough money from it, however, the money that we do make, we are very appreciative of,” said Cropper. “It always helps build the programs, and it’s not just important to me, it’s important to the university as well to make connections to the community and business world.”

Cropper will be joined by Redskins great and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams and other participating celebrity-athletes including Otis Sistrunk, Carl Kammerer, Reggie Branch, Clint Harris, Emmanuel McNeil and UMES alumni Curtis Gentry, Early Christy, Emerson Boozer and Mack Alston.

Cropper said the tournament provides the opportunity for the former players to give back to the university they grew up with.

“This golf tournament allows the graduates and pro athletes to meet with friends and be happy about how the university has continued to grow,” Cropper said.

Other participants include history-making professional golfers such as James Black, who became the first black golfer to card a first-round 67 in the PGA Tour in 1964.

UMES Hall of Fame golfer Fred Engh, the first Caucasian student-athlete in UMES history who founded the National Alliance for Youth Sports and the Hook a Kid on Golf program, will also be there.

“It’s very important that they come back in support of our university; they are the main attraction,” said Dr. Henry Brooks, the event chairman.

Brooks said that although the returning celebrity-athletes’ attendance is vital to the event, the goal is to attract younger and more current golf players.

“A lot of younger people don’t even know these older players, but the older, more mature players always remember them,” Brooks said.

Registration is $200 per player and $750 per foursome and includes a Birdees on the Bayou Pairing Party, food and beverages on the course, the awards dinner and commemorative gifts. Non-golfers can attend the Birdees on the Bayou Pairing Party for $25 per person.
Information from: The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md.,

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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