Steelers Nation was well represented at the sixth annual Steelers Men's Fantasy Camp presented by Rolling Rock. at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. There were 240 participants from 33 states across the US as well as Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas taking part in the weekend of activity.
Steelers alumni Matt Bahr, Dermontti Dawson, Jason Gildon, Louis Lipps, Mike Logan, Keith Willis and Steelers quarterback coach Ken Anderson served as coaches for the group, instructing them on the finer points of playing various football positions during two practice sessions on the first day.
There was the annual Steelers Men's Fantasy Camp Fan Hall of Fame presentation with 14 campers who have participated in five consecutive Steelers Men's Fantasy Camps. This year's inductees include:
John Ferchak – Las Vegas, NV
Franz Filicky – Youngwood, PA
Charles Guzek – Ashburn, VA
Joseph Hughes – Macedonia, OH
Robert Johnson – Sewickley, PA
Robert Kardos – Cross Lanes, WV
Wesley Kimmell – Marietta, GA
Michael Kimmell - Marietta, GA
John Linn – Newton, PA
Pat Sands – Glendale, AZ
Jack Staley – Essex, MD
Wayne Williams – Conover, NC
Chris Zemba – Zainesville, OH
Paul Zemba - Zainesville, OH
One of the great aspects of the Steelers Men's Fantasy Camp weekend is the number of fathers, sons and brothers who participate in the weekend together helping to make memories that last a lifetime.
Inclement weather forced practice to be moved inside to the gymnasium just like the current Steelers players would do at training camp. The afternoon session was held outside in the sunshine showing off the pristine Laurel Highlands in the background. Both practices featured instructions in passing, kicking, receiving, blocking, linebacker and secondary drills.
Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney made a surprise visit to the stunned group of campers Saturday afternoon and discussed many great moments in team history as well as answering questions concerning current events with the Steelers and the entire NFL.
Steelers QB Coach Ken Anderson and team scout Mark Gorscak followed and held a "Team Meeting" between practices. Anderson discussed featuring how he fared playing against the Steelers defense in the 70s and current techniques he is using to work with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Gorscak discussed in great detail how the team goes about finding its players along with their evaluation process.
All of the Steelers alumni shared either training camp stories or memories involving the other players at Men's Fantasy Camp during the banquet. Steelers legend Rocky Bleier was the special guest speaker and shared many great memories about camp and other great stories during his illustrious career. Alumni Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley served as co-hosts for the entire weekend while also working for Steelers TV.
Sunday featured three separate skills competitions with trophies and prizes given to the all of the winners in three separate age groups. It was a memorable and incredible weekend not only for the participants, but the alumni as well. Everyone left on Sunday afternoon very excited about the 2008 Steelers season while looking forward to the 2009 Men's Fantasy Camp weekend. All participants will be able to remember their weekend forever with a special DVD sent to everyone as well as group photos taken with all of the alumni.