2013 Shell golf tourney a sell-out
WESTOVER, MD - (June 12, 2013) – Ideal weather, tall tales and great shots made the 2013 edition of the Art Shell Celebrity Golf Tournament another resounding success.
Thirty-six foursomes – a sold-out field of linksters – played alongside former athletes who volunteer to help Shell with the annual fund-raiser for UMES, his alma mater.
Returning for the second year in a row was former Washington Redskin Doug Williams, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXII.
Williams is head football coach at his alma mater, Grambling University, and said he looked forward to returning to the Eastern Shore after his first Shell tourney in 2012.
“These (events) are a lot of fun,” Williams said. “You get to meet some really nice people and it’s a chance to do a little something for people who might not have it as good as we did coming up.”
The Shell tournament is organized to raise scholarship funds for deserving students, including those who might want to study in UMES’ golf management program.
Tournament organizers assigned Williams to play alongside an all-female foursome of Toni Clarke, Regina Durso, Jane Lanier and UMES alumna Velma Shipp - all of whom described the former quarterback as a “real gentleman,” a “terrific guy” and “not a bad golfer.”
Williams said his teammates were too generous with their praise about his golfing skills.
For the second year in a row, a team of executives from Delmarva Power headed by UMES Board of Visitor member John Allen turned in a winning card with a combined score of 55. The celebrity playing with Allen’s team was … the tournament host.
Allen insisted after the tournament that their combined score was legitimate, an assertion that prompted guffaws from fellow competitors.
Shell, tournament director Marshall Cropper and their peers who played football when the university fielded a team were moved by the appearance of their coach, Roosevelt Sandy Gilliam.
Gilliam, now 80, coached during the mid-1960s when old Maryland State College routinely sent players like Cropper, Shell and Emerson Boozer on to professional football.
“Being around these guys back then was a special time in my life,” Gilliam said.
Gilliam, who recently had surgery to his knees and uses a scooter to get around, traveled with his family from their home in Lancaster, S.C. to participate in the festivities.
His wife, Betty, said she could see her husband become energized by each well-wisher who stopped to chat with him. “He’s really enjoying himself,” she said.
It was evident, too, to the dozens of competitors and onlookers waiting for the traditional pre-tournament photo that Gilliam’s former players revere him when they saw him join them for the picture.
“We know it’s tough for coach Gilliam to travel,” Cropper said. “It means a lot to all of us that he came.”
Team Delmarva Power, (top) from left, Stan Botts, John Allen, John Petito and Neil Baker, watch as celebrity teammate and tournament host Art Shell makes a putt. The team took first place with a score of 55 in round robin play. Baker also took awards for the men's longest drive at hole #8 and closest to the pin at hole #17.
Celebrity golfer Doug Williams' teammates - Toni Clarke, Regina Durso, Jane Lanier and UMES alumna Velma Shipp - celebrate after Clarke executed a successful chip-in shot. (Photos by Joey Gardner)