May 23—MORGANTOWN — A team’s worth of football and other sports celebrities — many with West Virginia ties — will be on hand at the Greenbrier Wednesday and Thursday to help raise money for the statewide and national substance misuse prevention program for high schoolers.
The two-day event is the Game Changer Golf Classic, and Prevention and Education Luncheon.
Alabama football head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, will serve as hosts. Nick Saban is a Monongah native and considered by many as the greatest football coach of all time, having captured seven national titles and won more than 250 games. Terry Saban is also a Marion County native and a former educator.
Former No. 2 draft pick, Heisman Trophy finalist, First-Team All-American and four-year NFL veteran Ryan Leaf will serve as the emcee of the dinner and participate in the golf tournament.
During his pro career, Leaf played quarterback for the Buccaneers, Chargers, Cowboys and Seahawks. His NFL career was thrown off track by a drug problem that eventually landed him in prison. He went as far as attempting suicide before eventually turning his life around in prison, and he now shares his story as a warning for young athletes. He has also serves as a television and radio analyst for college football.
The Classic opens Wednesday evening with a reception and dinner. It continues Thursday morning with a celebrity golf tournament on the Old White Course. Coinciding with the Golf Classic will be the Prevention and Education Luncheon, beginning at 11 a.m. The luncheon will feature prevention specialists and top educators from West Virginia and around the nation, detailing the Game Changer plan to address the growing opioid and substance misuse problem in West Virginia and the country.
Also among the sports celebrities who are West Virginia natives attending: Former WVU football coach and current Louisiana Monroe offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez ; NBA players Bimbo Coles and Jason Williams ; college basketball Mike Eades and Teddy Valentine ; Marc Bulger, Meg Bulger, Warren Baker, Neal Brown, Shane Lyons, Mike Carey, Darryl Talley, Jeff Hostetler, Don Nehlen, Bob Huggins, Anthony Becht, George Henshaw, Matt Moore ; Charles Huff, Bob Pruett, Dan D’Antoni, Brooke Burkhammer, and Marshall men’s soccer coach Chris Grassie, who led his team to a national title earlier this month.
Also attending: Whit Babcock, Joey Galloway, Ryan Switzer, Johnny Davis, Joe Pendry and Barnwood Builders host Mark Bowe.
Gov. Jim Justice and Sen. Joe Manchin will speak at the dinner.
Presented by the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, West Virginia Game Changer, through a partnership with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, was founded in 2019 by Morgantown businessman Joe Boczek, West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Executive Director Bernie Dolan and MVB Bank Executive and Chief Financial officer Don Robinson.
Game Changer is a cooperative effort between Justice’s office, the SSAC, the state Department of Education, the Office of Drug Control Policy, the Drug Intervention Institute, Help & Hope WV, and the state’s six Prevention Lead Organizations. Game Changer is a youth-led, adult-based prevention, peer-to-peer influence, positive youth development and community enhancement initiative designed to educate, support, and empower youth to make healthy choices as they prepare to be leaders of tomorrow.
To register for the event or become a Game Changer sponsor, visit WVGameChanger.com or email joe @wvgamechanger.com.
TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp EMAIL dbeard @dominionpost.com
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