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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Father of the Year

Buccaneer coaches Jon and Jay Gruden helped honor their father Thursday night...Plus two opportunities for weekend golfers to support worthy causes


Jim Gruden (center) worked for the Buccaneers long before Jon (far right) and Jay (behind Jim) helped the team to a world championship

Being a father is its own reward, as anyone who has seen a first step or heard a first word can tell you. For Jim Gruden, the joys of fatherhood have even included the sight of his sons raising the Lombardi Trophy in front of millions of fans.

For Gruden, father of Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon and Offensive Assistant Jay, the rewards became more tangible Thursday evening when he was named "Father of the Year" by the Community Foundation of Sarasota.

Jon and Jay were on hand Thursday as their father received his award, and this time it was the sons who were filled with pride.

"There are a lot of special fathers out there and I'm certainly proud of mine," said Jon Gruden. "And we're honored, obviously, to honor our dad. We're proud of him and we love him."

The "Father of the Year" ceremony, which was held this year at the Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, is part of the Connecting Fathers & Families parenting initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to help fathers learn how to strengthen their families and to emphasize the important role that fathers play in their children's lives.

Jim Gruden preceded his sons into the realm of professional football, and even into the Buccaneers organization. Currently a regional scout for the San Francisco 49ers, he was the Bucs running backs coach from 1982-83 and their director of player personnel from 1984-86.


Calling All Duffers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keenan McCardell is looking for golfers who want to tee it up in his annual Celebrity Golf Classic on Sunday and Monday, June 22-23. The cost for one golfer to attend the pairings party and play in the Golf Classic is $500, and $75 for the pairings party only.

Proceeds generated from the 2003 Keenan McCardell Celebrity Golf Classic will be split between McCardell's Touching Hands Foundation and the American Cancer Society. McCardell's foundation is dedicated to reducing cancer risks by supporting outreach programs that promote early detection and healthier lifestyles in diverse and underserved communities, and the American Cancer Society.

Buccaneers FB Mike Alstott, TE Ken Dilger, DT Anthony McFarland, RB Aaron Stecker, along with Miami Dolphin QB Jay Fiedler, Milwaukee Bucks PG Sam Cassell, St. Louis Rams WR Isaac Bruce and other notable celebrities, are scheduled to play in the Celebrity Classic.

If you would like to receive information about the Keenan McCardell Golf Classic please call (813) 254-3630 ext. 320.


While You're At It, Play 36

McCardell isn't the only Buccaneer looking for willing duffers who want to support a worthy cause. Pro Bowl LB Shelton Quarles is looking for 144 golfers who are willing to support Operation Brave Kids, a program set up to help the families of military reservists called to active duty.

With thousands of moms and dads recently called into action, many children have been left behind with only one parent. The result is often a large emotional and financial burden on the parent left behind, and that's where Operation Brave Kids comes in.

Reservist families sign up for the program and each month Operation Brave Kids sends $25 gift certificates from stores like Winn-Dixie and Home Depot to reservist families with children.

The Operation Brave Kids Golf Outing is scheduled for Friday, June 13 at the Palms Golf Complex on MacDill Air Force Base, with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. The cost is $60.00 per person and includes golf, cart and dinner at the club following the tournament.

For more information about the Operation Brave Kids Golf Outing, or to sign up, please call (813) 636-7027.

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