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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
By Brian Bailey

Inaugural Drew-Skip Classic a smash


Replay clips from the past year's Brian Bailey Show.


Replay coverage of the Drew Steele-Skip Holtz Classis from Monday's Talk of the Town with Henry Hinton:


The 1st annual Drew Steele-Skip Holtz golf tournament was bigger then even Coach Holtz could have imagined.

The interest level was amazing from the start. Mike Steele, the former East Carolina basketball coach, and Coach Holtz hooked up in a golf tournament to benefit Special Olympics last year.

The two discussed the possibility of a tournament. The next day, Steele went on the radio and made the announcement. The group didn’t have a plan, didn’t have a course, and didn’t have a single dollar. The group, though, did have a tournament, and the ball was rolling.

Steele and Holtz hit the ground running. As Mike would often joke, many people knew Coach Holtz, but everybody knew Drew Steele.

“I can’t believe how the community came together for this event,” said Holtz at yesterday’s event. “Everyone was so generous and this tournament will get bigger and better every year.”

Holtz spent his tournament shaking hands and handing out thank you’s with Drew. The pair gave each group a pep talk before that group would tee off.

It was a beautiful day for the most part, until thunderstorms cut the party a bit short late.

The tournament raised over 100 thousand dollars just with Sunday’s dinner and auction.

Add in the golf, and the tournament should come close to raising a quarter of a million dollars for special populations in Pitt County.

Thoughts on Drew

I first met Drew Steele as a young child when his father, Mike, took the basketball coaching job at East Carolina.

Mike and Sandy Steele had two children, Derek and Drew. Derek was tall, like his father, but good looking. Drew was as cute as could be, but with special needs.

Drew has Down syndrome. But in so many ways, Drew is what we would all like to be.

Drew Steele has never met a stranger. He lights up a room. His glass isn’t just half full; it’s always near the top.

Drew was one of the reasons I first got involved with Special Olympics. Through the years, I’ve been privileged to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Pitt-Greenville spring games. WNCT-TV 9 carried the Opening Ceremonies for the State Special Olympics during its two-year run in Greenville.

Drew Steele helped to make that happen.

I can remember early on that I wasn’t very comfortable around special needs children. I think many people are like that. With Drew’s help, I became more comfortable and I now cherish the time I get to spend with special needs children.

This spring I’ve been coaching in the Greenville Challenger League, which is baseball for special needs children. I’ve got the best coaching staff in the league. My 14-year-old son Ryne coaches at third base and Drew Steele handles the coaching chores at first base.

I told this story to the crowd at Sunday night’s auction and dinner:

(Story continues below picture.)

Challenger League coach Brian Bailey (center) with assistant coaches Drew Steele (left) and Ryne Bailey (right).

When we first found out that we would be coaching a Challenger League team I asked Drew to be my first base coach.

I told him that all baseball coaches have signs, and that we had some that we had to learn.

I told him that if I tugged at my cap, then it meant to take.

He asked, “Take what?”

I explained that we would take a pitch. But every time I tugged my cap and asked him what it meant, he would say, “Cap!”

Finally, after five or six tries, I tugged my cap and Drew yelled, “Take!”

Drew was so happy that he finally understood that he ran to Coach Holtz, going through a fake set of signs before tugging his cap.

Coach Holtz knew nothing about our signs, and when Drew asked what it meant when he tugged his cap, Coach Holtz said, “Cap!”

We were back to square one. Needless to say we need some more work on our signs.

Drew Steele can teach us all a lesson about life. His enthusiasm is infectious. His energy is tremendous.

Drew Steele and Skip Holtz make a great combination.

It was a great day of fun, fellowship and golf.

Here’s looking forward to the 2nd annual Drew Steele/Skip Holtz Golf Classic.

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:33:48 AM


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