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Alex Bullard participated in his first Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic on Friday. It won’t be his last.
Bullard is the 19-year-old son of Louis Bullard, a former offensive lineman for the Seahawks who 23 years ago helped Green start his tournament that benefits Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Louis Bullard died April 18 after a three year battle with cancer.
This year’s tournament was dedicated to the memory of Louis Bullard.
“This is more of a celebration,” said Alex, a sophomore offensive lineman at Notre Dame. “It’s a celebration of my father’s life and his accomplishments and everything he’s done for this tournament.”
They could celebrate Friday, because the tears flowed Thursday night when Alex showed a taped tribute to his father at the dinner and auction that are part of Green’s event. The auction raised more than $250,000, pushing the total contributions from the Green event to almost $2 million.
“It was very emotional,” said Green, who also had a difficult time Friday while trying to discuss Bullard’s place being taken by his son at his year’s tournament.
“It’s great to have Alex here. He’s carrying on the tradition.”
Green is a member of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor, a tenacious defensive end who holds the franchise record for sacks (116) and also ranks third in games started (176) and fifth in tackles (718) and games played (178).
Bullard was an imposing man (6 feet 6, 265 pounds), with an even bigger heart. A fifth-round draft choice in 1978, he played three seasons with the Seahawks. But his friendship with Green lasted much longer.
“This all started years ago when Louis and I decided to do a tournament in honor of my father, who I’d lost to cancer,” Green said. “Cancer has touched so many people’s lives, so we kept it going because it’s a great cause.”
Cancer definitely has touched the lives of Bullard’s family – his wife, Dorothy; their daughter, Ashley, 25; and Alex. In his father’s absence, Green has tried to fill the void for Alex.
“Jacob has stepped in and been wonderful to Alex, and for Alex,” Dorothy Bullard said. “Not just with football, but with his life.”
This year’s golf tournament was held at the Golf Club at Newcastle and attracted several other former Seahawks – Blair Bush, Nesby Glasgow, Paul Johns, Norm Johnson, Mo Kelly, Will Lewis, Sam McCullum, Reggie McKenzie, Joe Nash, Paul Skansi and Charle Young. The celebrity field also included former University of Washington football coach Don James, former major league pitcher Vida Blue, former Seattle Sonics guards Gus Williams and Slick Watts and former UW and NFL quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.
Skansi is now in his 11th year as a scout for the San Diego Chargers, but he still lives in Paulsbo and is an annual participate in Green’s tournament.
“I come out for Jacob and for the cause, it’s been great for Fred Hutch all these years,” said Skansi, who starred at Peninsula High School and the University of Washington before playing for the Seahawks (1984-91).
“Plus it’s a good tournament, they run it well and it’s good to see the guys. For all those reasons, I try to save this time on my calendar.”
This year, the presence of Alex Bullard and the memories of his father made the event even more special.