Coughlin’s Jay Fund Golf Classic Earns $210,000
Giants coach gets by with a little help from his friends.
By Michael Eisen, Giants.com
May 13, 2005
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When Tom Coughlin traveled to Hawaii for the NFL’s annual meetings in March, he brought with him invitations for the Jay Fund Foundation’s annual celebrity golf classic and dinner, the largest annual fundraiser for his charitable foundation.
QB Eli Manning looks to make this put at the annual Jay Fund Celebrity Golf Classic, held May 1 in Jacksonville.
“I had prepared a number of envelopes to give to guys to see if I could invite them to come,” Coughlin said. “(Tennessee Titans coach) Jeff Fisher saw it and walked right back over to me and said, ‘I’ll be there. My best friend has leukemia.’”
Fisher was indeed in attendance, along with many other celebrities, to help make the two-day event a rousing success. The dinner and silent auction were held on May 1 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Jacksonville and the golf tournament, held the following day at the Marsh Landing Country Club, netted in excess of $210,000, just shy of the record set last year.
“It was great,” said Coughlin, who started the Jay Fund Foundation in 1996 in honor of Jay McGillis, a former player of his at Boston College who died of leukemia. “It was a wonderful evening on Sunday night. The electricity in the room was great. The Jay Fund kids were super. We had a great story in that one of the kids we helped a long time ago had a relapse and we helped her again – and she graduated from law school the same year she relapsed. It’s an incredible story.
“We spent time recognizing the fact that it was our 10th year and it was as a result of the great loyal support we have from people in the community. So it was a wonderful night. Everybody had a good time. Our auction items were very well received.”
“It was a special night with a little more enthusiasm than normal because we were celebrating our 10th anniversary,” said Keli Coughlin, the oldest of the coach’s four children and the executive director of the Jay Fund Foundation. “I think everyone there really stepped up. We raised a lot of money and everybody had a great time as well.”
The Coughlins are bringing the Jay Fund to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. The first annual Pigskin Ball will be held on Friday, Sept. 9, at Cipriani at 110 East 42nd Street in Manhattan. It will be held in conjunction with The National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation, a charity that Jets running back Curtis Martin works closely with. The highlight of the evening will be a special performance by Bette Midler. Details and ticket information will soon be available.
Coughlin has hosted successful charity events in Jacksonville for a decade. In addition to Fisher, the celebrities at this year’s this year’s dinner and golf tournament included Bill Polian, President of the Indianapolis Colts; golfers Jim Furyk and Calvin Peete; Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones; ESPN analysts Chris Mortensen and Tom Jackson; Eli Manning, Shaun O’Hara, Kyle Brady and numerous other NFL players.
The mission of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation is to:
The foundation has donated more than $1.2 million dollars for Jacksonville-area pediatric leukemia and cancer patients, and their families. The Jay Fund helps families improve their quality of life by offering financial and emotional assistance as their child is being treated for cancer.
This year’s tournament was presented by Acosta Sales and Marketing, First Coast News, Orthodontic Education Company, The PGA Tour, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Official Sponsors included Coggin Automotive Group, Elias Jewelry, Matheny Jaguar, Southern Wine and Spirits, and Zurich Insurance.
As always, Coughlin spoke at the dinner and helped inspire contributions to the live auction. At the golf tournament, he spent all day on the second tee, hitting a ball with every group. Each foursome would then decide whether to play Coughlin’s ball or their own.
“I get to see everybody,” Coughlin said. “That’s they key. It’s a real high to see the kids, see the families and see the great support that we have.”