Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 20, 2012

Clark’s camp starts Monday

PRINCETON — Gary Clark ran lots of audible while a member of the Washington Redskins.

An audible has been called by the Gridiron Legacy Football Teaching School, which will be in Princeton next week.

Originally slated to be an invitation-only camp to be held at Hunnicutt Stadium next Friday and Saturday, the specialized clinics are now open to anyone in the proper age groups, according to Princeton resident Lane Stafford, a lifelong friend of the Clark family, whose influence helped to bring the camps to Mercer County.

“If you would like your child registered in this camp, contact Gridiron Princeton,” Stafford said. “Let’s do it that way.”

Any parents interested in having their children participate must e-mail Clark’s sister, Shelia, at gridironprinceton@gmail.com to receive a registration form. The e-mail should include the child’s name, age, position they prefer and name of the parents.

Clark needs to know names in advance, not only to print up certificates to be distributed after each camp session, but the visiting NFL legends need to know how many kids they will be working with at specific positions on the field.

Deadline for entry is Monday at 6 p.m. Each camp session is limited 90 players each day. There is no cost for the camp. Photographs will be taken at the end of each camp.

Interested persons can also call (703) 247-8396.

“We are very excited to be coming to West Virginia,” Shelia Clark said. “We are looking to make it a yearly thing. Next year we will start much more in advance.”

Clark, who played at Pulaski County High School and at James Madison before catching 699 passes over 11 seasons in the NFL, founded The Gridiron Legacy, which features a group of NFL ‘legends’ dedicated to the enhancement of youth football, youth sports and overall youth fitness.

Based largely in northern Virginia, Clark is also committed to joining Michele Obama, in her "Get Moving" campaign to stamp out childhood obesity.

“There are no specialized clinics like this in the country offering this type of knowledge and access to a National Football League player,” said Gary Clark, in a press release. “I am excited to work with our sponsors and co-sponsors who have all made a commitment to the community and the youth to make this event possible.”

Clark will be joined in Princeton by former NFL players John Booty, Clarence Vaughn, Raven Caldwell and Ed Simmons.

A meet-and-greet session with the players will be held for anyone interested on Thursday at the Chuck Mathena Center from 6-8 p.m.

A four-hour football camp will be held the next two days from 8 a.m.-noon at Hunnicutt Stadium. High school and middle school students, ages 13-17, will be the focus on Friday, while the younger kids, ages 6-12, will follow on Saturday morning.

Registration will be held each morning from 8-8:30 a.m. Parents and players can bring the registrations forms received from Clark with them at that time.

Clark said they were influenced to bring the Gridiron Legacy camps to West Virginia through their association with Stafford, who thought  ‘Princeton would like this’.

That sounded fine to Gary Clark.

“It was in West Virginia, in Princeton, it was close to home, let’s give it a shot and see what happens. This could be something we could do yearly there,” said Clark, of the response from Gary. “We are looking at next year at possibly doing it for a week and that way we can devote time to each high school and middle school possibly in Mercer County and then maybe expand further into West Virginia.

“Life is beautiful,” added Clark, with a laugh.

Among the sponsors are Stafford and his wife, Ronda, Stacey Hicks of the Princeton Rescue Squad, Seaver Funeral Home, Memorial Funeral Home, Chuck Mathena Center, Kirk-Bailey Funeral Home, Ramey Motors, Inc., and Barry Karnes.

According to the press release, those business have also agreed to sponsor the 52 week NFL Players Program, which will allow participants, parents and coaches to contact the player's NFL legend position coach at designated times throughout the year.

Additional co-sponsors include William A. Berzinski, M.A., the Pepsi Bottling Group, McDonald's and Pizza Hut, both on Stafford Drive, Associated Photography and Framing, and Hampton Inn in Princeton.

“Along with our other sponsors we would like to expand the number of clinics each year and the number of youth we are able to sponsor,” said Stafford, in the release.

Registration will begin each morning at 8 a.m. Campers are encouraged to bring two t-shirts, cleats, sneakers, a snack for energy, along with a lunch and drink clearly marked with the person’s name.

For more information on the Gridiron Legacy Football Teaching School, visit www.gridironfootballschool.com.

—Contact Brian Woodson

 at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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