Still viable and definitely vital in its 27th year, there also was yet another first at the Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic on Friday.
Among the two dozen celebrity participants at The Golf Club at Newcastle in the event that benefits Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was R.C. Slocum, Green’s position coach at Texas A&M and later the winningest head coach in school history. Despite a close relationship that began when both were much younger, this was Slocum’s first appearance at Green’s tournament.
“I’ve been scheduled to play in Jacob’s tournament a time or two, but something always came up,” said Slocum, who won 123 games as the Aggies head coach from 1989-2002 after serving as an assistant coach from 1972-80 and defensive coordinator from 1982-1988.
“But I’m finally here and glad to be here because I’m really proud of Jacob. For athletes, over the years a lot comes their way. They get a lot of recognition. They get a lot of attention. You love to see guys that use that platform to give back and to make things better.”
That’s Jacob Green – at A&M, where he is associate vice president of major gifts for the school’s 12th Man Foundation; and with the Seahawks, as a member of their advisory board and host of his annual golf tournament.
“I’ve known Jacob since he was 17-years old and he’s always been a special guy,” Slocum said. “When he played, he was always a mature guy, a fun guy, but never had any of the problems that sometimes you have to deal with. Jacob was always beyond that.”
The rest of the celebrity contingent included faces familiar to the tournament, as well as to Seattle sports fans: current Seahawks players
There also were former greats from other teams and sports who have made playing in Green’s tournament par for the course: Vida Blue, Vencie Glenn, Mike Haynes, Ronnie Lott, Swen Nater, Billy North, Slick Watts and Gus Williams.
All were on hands because of Green, and what his tournament has done to help the work done by The Hutch – the dinner and auction on Thursday night raised $338,000, pushing the total raised over the years to more than $3 million.
“The Hutch and Children’s Hospital are the two premier things in Seattle that you can stand up for,” said Bush, the Seahawks’ center from 1983-88 who also played at the University of Washington and still lives in the Seattle area.
A regular at Green’s tournament since 1998, Bush added, “Both those institutions are so unique that if you can support one of them that’s fantastic. And this tournament is fun and it’s a great course to play on, and Jacob does such a nice job with it and the dinner and all the events around it.”
The significance of the return engagements by such an engaging collection of Green’s contemporaries is not lost on the Seahawks’ all-time sack leader – a first-round draft choice in 1980 who led the team in sacks nine times during his 12-season career while registering 116.
“From high school, to after college, to after pros, just being able to hang out with guys that you watched and respected and they come back and support what you’re doing, it’s a really good feeling,” Green said. “I’m just honored to be a small part of it.”
But having Slocum on hands was a special touch to the 27th tournament because A&M and the Seahawks are Green’s teams. Current A&M coach Kevin Sumlin also participated in the tournament.
“They’ve been loyal to me – the Seahawks and Texas A&M,” Green said. “I wouldn’t trade anything. If I did it again, I’d do it the same way every time. I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s why I’m so happy to see coach Slocum here.”
The pair share a special relationship.
“I brought our team up here to play the (University of Washington) Huskies one year,” Slocum recalled of a 1989 game at Husky Stadium. “We got in late, but when we pulled into the hotel there was Jacob standing out there waiting for me and waiting for the team.
“Jacob was still playing and had a lot on his plate, but he went to a lot of trouble to do that and it meant a lot to me.”
Just as Slocum playing in his tournament meant a lot to Green.