Coach Mike Tomlin is scheduled to host the Fourth Annual Gridiron Legends Tailgate Party on Thursday, July 12 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Va. The event will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and it benefits the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation.
"I look forward to coming back to the Hampton Roads area to celebrate another great season of football with our local fans," said Tomlin. "This event looks to bring everyone together for a fun time and provide a great fan friendly environment for the Hampton Roads community."
The Gridiron Legends Tailgate Party is the start of the Hampton Roads All-Star Football Camp – now in its 16th year – that will take place on July 13-14 at Christopher Newport University. The two-day camp is for youth between the ages of 8-14, plus some selected high school players, and it features NFL players and area high school coaches teaching basic offensive and defensive skills. Besides on-field instruction, the camp also includes a Q&A session with NFL players, as well as presentations on nutrition and conditioning, college preparation, dietary supplement and steroid abuse, and the importance of academic excellence.
Tomlin was an A-student at Denbigh High School in Newport News, Va., and this event is a chance for him to give back in an area that he calls home.
"For me, when we were growing up in Newport News, there were a lot of men who made sacrifices for us," said Tomlin during an interview in July 2010. "They did provide blueprints for us in terms of how to conduct ourselves. Free camps were provided for us. Coach Tommy Reamon used to have a football camp every year when I was a kid. We all went to it. And for those who couldn't afford camps, who couldn't afford going away to college camps and things, that was our football camp. Guys like Coach Reamon are blueprints for me, and I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do. Hopefully I can touch the lives of some of the young kids who come to our camp, and 20 years from now they'll in turn do the same thing.
"This more than anything is about giving back to the community from which I came. Providing opportunity for kids who might not be given an opportunity under other circumstances. I'm very blessed, and there are responsibilities that come with that."
Formed in 1997, the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation (HRYF) was established with the objective of providing educational, social, and economic programs for youth in the Hampton Roads communities.
"We have had a tremendous outpouring of support from the community for this event since its inception, so we decided to do it again," said Vernon Lee, HRYF Vice Chairman. We are looking forward to the larger venue this year to better accommodate all of the football fans who want to attend. This event helps ensure that our youth football camp remains free of charge for the over 500 campers who attend each year."
For more information on the Fourth Annual Gridiron Legends Tailgate Party, call 757-304-8172, or visit www.hryf.org. Tickets for the event are $25 (limited advance tickets are available), and children under 5 are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com.