Dynamics beyond the sidelines
More Than a Game
Monday, March 8, 2004
By Ron Cherubini
Port of call:
Pirate greats back for good works
Kevin Monroe & Troy Smith at it again for
Future Inc., and the Children of Greenville
|PIRATE GRIDIRON CLASSIC
When: March 27, 2004,
Where: Rose High School Gymnasium
Admission: Free (Donations welcomed)
Kevin and Troy would appreciate your support for
Future Inc., and the children of Greenville.
Sponsorships are still needed for portions of the
2nd Annual Gridiron Classic.
Since this event is
free to the public, sponsorships are critical. The
following support levels are still available:
Team Sponsor: $500
Halftime Sponsor: $250
Three Point Contest: negotiable
Slam Dunk Contest: negotiable
refreshments and gifts for giveaway are also being
To get involved,
please call Kevin Monroe at 252-353-5144 or e-mail
or call Troy Smith at 252-439-0151 or e-mail him at
If a Pirate football player learns anything during his time
at East Carolina, it is that no obstacle is too big and the word quit simply
does not exist. For former standouts Kevin Monroe (DB 1995-99) and Troy
Smith (WR 1995-98), a dream greater than any they had for football continues
The two former Rose High teammates and close friends are
looking to create a lasting organization aimed at helping children
growing up in the toughest areas in Greenville understand that there is
a live out there to be had if they can just see past the obstacles that
many of them encounter on a daily basis.
A year ago, Monroe and Smith started an organization
called Future Inc., which – if all goes right – will become a
full-fledged non-profit organization late this year or early next. The
two ex-ballplayers drew on what they knew best to get the ball rolling,
football. More precisely, football players. Lots of them from ECU.
To raise some seed money for the organization, the duo
put on the first Gridiron Classic, a charity basketball game featuring
former ECU standout football players, many of whom played professionally
in the NFL, the CFL, or in Europe. This year, the event is now truly an
“(Future Inc.) started off with an idea,” Monroe
explained. “Going through the south and west Greenville areas, you see
kids – and they are getting younger and younger every day – on the
street corners. (Seeing kids with nothing to do) really affected (me and
Troy). We wanted to find something for these young kids to do while it
could still make a difference in their lives.
“So we started by taking kids to ballgames or out to get
some pizza. Troy coached a Pop Warner team and a basketball team. Most
of these kids are interested in sports and it was something that (Troy
and I) know, but we wanted to also explore their interests in other
things and outside the neighborhood. We wanted to take it further.
“Troy and his wife, Lily, give so much of their time
working with these children and organize and run after school programs.
Troy’s job is to help disadvantaged and troubled children within the
school system and it just carries over for him. It’s 24 hours a day. I
am trying to help out on the business side.”
The two created Future Inc., and are daring to dream
BIG. They have a goal to gain full non-profit status this year and they
are eying the day when they can open a full-service after school program
complete with a facility somewhere in Greenville. They hope to be able
to hire full-time tutors and staff for the organization, to make it like
a special “Boys and Girls Club.”
“To gain 501-P3 status takes some time,” Monroe
explained. “We have submitted all of our paperwork to the government and
now we are waiting for it to work its way through the proper channels.
We have put together a tentative board of 10 individuals to become the
board of directors, but it not formal yet. We do have a plan in place so
that when the paperwork is approved, we will be ready.”
Last year’s Gridiron Classic was critical for Future
Inc., as it proved to be a worthwhile fund-raiser not only in gaining
seed money for the organization, but also in terms of getting the name
out and connecting to the very community they wish to serve.
“Last year, the Gridiron was good for the kids and it
was mainly a marketing a event (for Future Inc.),” Monroe said. “We were
able to put together enough money to start an account for the
organization. Overall we raised about $5,000 last year and were able to
put that toward the future.
“More importantly, the community was really good to us
last year which is so important in terms of growing our organization.
Trade Mart and Henry Hinton really stepped up big for us. I hate that I
might leave someone out, but others contributed as well. Chik-fil-a and
Morgan Printers and a lot of individuals gave money to the cause.”
The biggest beneficiaries, however, are the children of
Greenville. Monroe and Smith and many others are delivering on a promise
to open these children up to new, positive experiences.
“The parents, for one, are just happy someone is looking
out for their kids,” Monroe said. “For many of them, they are working
second and third-shift jobs or working two jobs or are single parents
and they feel good knowing that there is someone looking out for them
and their children. I was honored with an award from Rose High last year
as an Alumni of the Year and I know that it was mostly due to the work
we are doing with these kids who live right there around the school.”
If the expected turn out for the 2nd Annual Pirate
Gridiron Classic is any indication, the two former Pirates are well on
their way to establishing a lasting event that benefits not only the
Pirate football community, but more importantly, many of the children of
This year’s Gridiron Classic is slated for 5:30 p.m. on
March 27, 2004 at the Rose High School Gymnasium and once again will
benefit Future Incorporated, a non-profit organization started by Smith
The event is free this year, though donations are
certainly encouraged for all who want to participate. So far, the roster
of former players includes – though as of press time not all were
confirmed – current NFL stars David Garrard, Leonard Henry, Rod Coleman,
and Devonne Claybrooks and current CFL stars Marcus Crandell and Keith
Stokes. Also expected to participate are former NFL players George
Koonce, Vinson Smith, Carlester Crumpler Jr., Jerris McPhail, Mitchell
Galloway and Larry Shannon, who currently is on the ECU staff.
Others who have been invited are Andrew Bayes, Forrest
Foster, Pernell Griffin, Jeff Kerr, Jeff Connors, Danny Gonzalez, Jason
Nichols, Scott Harley, Marcellus Harris, Antwane Yelverton, and Marvin
Last year’s first event brought home more than 55
players to participate in the game.
The event includes a meet and greet session with the
former Pirates where fans can chat and grab an autograph. Then the
former stars will break into teams for a basketball game. Included in
the festivities will be a halftime performance by the ECU Pure Gold
“The event is the same this year except we are going to
incorporate the university more,” Monroe said. “Last year we had a
cookout and this year we are going to eat over (at ECU) with the Pirate
Club. Saturday we will be involved in the spring game on the sideline.
We were hoping to use Minges (for the game), but it was not available.
“We are going to change it up a little bit. We have the
ECU Pure Gold Dancers and there will be a lot of gift giveaways. We have
the three-point shootout and the slam dunk contest again. There has been
a great response (from former players and coaches) so far. It is going
to be a great time again this year.”
Monroe and Smith are hoping that the Gridiron Classic
endures not only for the sake of Future Inc., but also for the sake of
community and Pirates from all walks of life.
“We want to make this the alumni event of the year every
year,” Monroe said. “Every year, we want all former football players to
mark this date down and come back to Greenville. And, we want Future to
be the backbone for this.”
For more information or to sponsor a portion of the
event, please call Kevin Monroe at 252-353-5144 or Troy Smith at
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