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Brian Mitchell and Donnie Wallace: Stars never forgot roots

The Daily Advertiser file photo

Brian Mitchell, left, and Donnie Wallace, right, talk during a previous visit to Lafayette for a kickoff party for the Giving Back Charity Golf Classic spearheaded by the two former UL Ragin’ Cajun quarterbacks. This year’s event is scheduled for June 24-25.

Noteworthy items at memorabilia auction


The June 24 gathering includes a memorabilia auction with items including an autographed 2007 Masters flag, a Tiger Woods British Open autographed caddie bib and autographed badges from Woods’ four Masters wins, a Muhammad Ali autographed boxing glove, autographed tennis balls with photos from Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, autographed photos of Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, Tony Dungy, Byron Nelson and Elton John, and photos with hoofprints from Secretariat and Barbaro.

It started as just a gathering of friends, mostly football friends, for a few days of golf and socializing.

That’s still the main reason that Donnie Wallace and Brian Mitchell stage their Giving Back Charity Golf Classic, but now the event has a higher calling.

The two former Ragin’ Cajun quarterbacks will welcome many of their friends in the athletic world for their sixth such gathering, this one scheduled for June 24-25.

The tournament itself is June 25 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Le Triomphe, with a Sunday night kickoff party scheduled for 7 p.m. at the new Baja Beach Grill across from UL’s Cajun Field.

"It used to be something we just did," Wallace said. "It was about the only time during the year that we got to see a lot of these guys."

It has evolved into a full-scale fund-raiser for Stuller Place, a center for children at risk and in crisis, along with other charities, including Acadiana Outreach and the UL Quarterback Club.

The event draws some of the area’s premier athletic figures, with past participants or expected guests including Jake Delhomme, Eric Martin, Booger McFarland, Dalton Hilliard, Corey Raymond, Wade Richey, Kevin Faulk, Joe Ward, Trev Faulk, Tyrone Hughes, Lyle Mouton, Vencie Glenn, Greg Lloyd, Cornelius Bennett, Bobby Humphrey and Siran Stacey.

"The whole thing started when Brian and I decided to have a tournament and invite our friends," said Wallace, director of operations for the PGA Tour’s Shotlink system. "All of a sudden, we had people in the community getting behind us and supporting us – a lot of the same people that supported us and the program when we were in school."

The tournament itself pairs local players with a celebrity captain in a modified-scramble format. Cost of a foursome is $1,000, and the field filled to capacity for last year’s event. Entry information is available from Dugas at Stuller Place at 269-1557 or from Wallace at 288-7766.

The Sunday night affair – which includes a memorabilia auction – requires a $20 donation but is open at no charge to golf tournament participants, and Wallace said the Sunday gathering is more special this year since it will be a celebration of Mitchell’s induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Mitchell, UL’s all-time total offense leader and the NFL’s career leader in combined kick return yardage, will be inducted into the state’s sports shrine one night earlier on June 23 in Natchitoches.

"That (the Hall induction) put us in a time crunch for the tournament," Wallace said. "But we needed to have it when he and some other people were here in the area.

"We’re hoping that Sunday night can be special because Brian has given us so much here and in the pros and we want to honor him there."