Olde Farm founder Jim McGlothlin brought in NFL legends Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins, Lorena Ochoa and Betsy King, and former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem for the one-day charitable tournament, which raised a record $56,626,054.
The total more than tripled that of a 2010 fundraiser with Nicklaus, Player and Arnold Palmer, which raised $15 million. Nicklaus, golf’s all-time leader with 18 wins in majors, complimented the region for its generosity toward the school.
“I was so excited with 15 million,” Nicklaus said. “To get the community and the people who are interested in kids and to be able to do this, it could only happen in one place, and that’s America.”
West, a 14-time NBA All-Star and the 1969 NBA Finals MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers, is an accomplished golfer. Two weeks ago, the 80-year-old said, he had seven birdies in one round. He was more focused Monday on the purpose of the event and the many stories of the school’s alumni going on to successful careers as adults.
“It’s so fun to be involved in something that’s about kids and giving,” West said. “To raise over $56 million in an event like this is mind-boggling. It serves a purpose to support a school for high-risk kids and see the opportunity of what they have to achieve in their lives. Jim McGlothlin deserves the credit. He’s the guy who put this together and it’s fantastic.”
Manning, the former University of Tennessee star and two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, sidestepped a question if his future plans included coaching or getting into television. He was, like the other celebrities, impressed with the amount of money raised.
“To support this community with the amount of money raised is really phenomenal,” Manning said. “Jim has set the bar high with the $56 million. Anytime you can have fun and raise money for the cause, it’s a win-win. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Still, there is an element of fun for the sports legends to mingle, as former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino explained. Marino — who retired as the NFL’s all-time leading passer, a mark since passed by Manning — looked around at some of those he was able to share part of the day with.
“To be here with Lee, Jack, Jerry, Lanny, and the others playing golf, I love to play golf,” Marino said. “Also to hang out with Peyton Manning, when you’re here around Tennessee, he’s just a legend. It’s truly special to be a part of this.”
The foursome led by King won the competition part of the event with a 16-under-par total. Manning’s team finished second, one stroke back, and Player’s group third at 14 under.
“We played well and it was a lot of fun,” King said. “We were actually kind of bummed because we parred the last hole, but it was still good enough. I just want to thank Jim again. It was such a fabulous experience and it’s been awhile since I played in front of a crowd like this.”
Since 1921, Mountain Mission School, located in Grundy, Va., has served the needs of more than 20,000 children. To learn more, visit the school’s website, mmskids.org.