Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic to tee off with NFL, MLB, Olympic greats | SierraSun.com

Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic to tee off with NFL, MLB, Olympic greats

Special to the Sun

Gene Upshaw, former NFL All-Pro, checks his scorecard after the LTVA Celebrity-Am practice round at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Upshaw died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 and is the namesake for the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic benefit.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The late Gene Upshaw's legacy has reached far beyond his stellar NFL career and years as NFL Players Association leader. It has touched a community in Truckee/North Lake Tahoe where a state-of-the-art cancer center bears his name.

The 6th annual Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic will raise funds for cancer programs and traumatic brain injury research at Gray's Crossing in Truckee.

NFL Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and Mike Haynes, MLB star and Cy Young winner Vida Blue and snow sports celebrities Jeremy Jones, Daron Rahlves and Jonny Moseley, will gather July 13-14 to pay tribute to the former Oakland Raider, playing in the signature fundraiser celebrity tournament for the Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund at the Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation.

The fund benefits the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center and the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research.

Since the inaugural 2009 event, the event has raised nearly $700,000 for pancreatic cancer research, quality medical treatment and care for cancer patients and their families, sustainability and advancement of medical technology and funding for research in areas such as traumatic brain injury.

The Cancer Center's support care program are considered among the country's finest with the latest in technology and treatment options, including access to clinical trials through its affiliation with the UC Davis Cancer Care Network.

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Upshaw died in August 2008 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63. He was a founding member of the Golf Club at Gray's Crossing.

The event features one sports celebrity and four guests on each team playing a Shamble format. Social gatherings include receptions and a VIP pairings party with a Bay Area-infused sports memorabilia auction at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Practice rounds begin Sunday, July 13, followed by the VIP pairings party. Tournament play begins Monday, July 14, with a 9 a.m. shotgun start followed by an afternoon awards banquet.

Registration, sponsorship opportunities, volunteer inquiries and a participating celebrities list may be viewed at http://www.gu63.org.

Sponsors receive tournament playing spots, time to hang out with 1970s and 80s Oakland Raiders Super Bowl teams, five-star lodging, private pairings party VIP tickets, gift bags and recognition on program materials and releases.

Presenting and eagle sponsors will have their corporate names engraved in the Circle of Life located in the main lobby of the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center.

Sponsors of this year's event include the National Football League Foundation; The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe; Tahoe Mountain Club; Professional Athletes Foundation; Aon Hewitt; NEPC; Northstar California; Oakland Raiders and Dorfman Pacific.

A limited number of sponsorships are still available.

For more information about the cancer center and Tahoe Forest Health System visit http://www.tahoecancercenter.com and http://www.tfhd.com.

GENE UPSHAW

Gene Upshaw served as National Football League Players Association executive director from June 1983 to August 2008, after a successful 16-year career with the Oakland Raiders.

Upshaw worked diligently to enhance, protect and defend the individual rights of professional football players throughout the National Football League. Upshaw also served as chairman of National Football League Players Incorporated.

A perennial All-Pro offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders, Upshaw was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility. He played in 217 league games and appeared in six Pro Bowls.

He was named Lineman of the Year in the AFC in 1973 and 1974. In 1977, he was voted top lineman in the NFL, and received runner-up for that honor in 1980. Upshaw is the only player in NFL history to play in three Super Bowls in three different decades.

Upshaw was a team captain while also serving as an NFLPA player representative and officer for 13 years. He served as alternate representative or player representative for the Raiders from 1970 to 1976 and was a member of the executive committee from 1976 through 1980 when he was elected president of the NFLPA, a post he held until 1983.

In 1980, Gene was a recipient of the prestigious Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award for outstanding contribution to "team, community and country." In 1982, he was honored with the A. Phillip Randolph Award for significant accomplishments as one of the outstanding black leaders in America. In 1993, Upshaw was listed by the Sporting News as 13th in the top 100 most powerful people in sports.