Kickoff Party at my Alma Mater

July 11, 2012 – On June 29, my alma mater, Misericordia University, held a fundraising dinner for its football team, which will begin their first season of play this September.

As a member of the athletic department’s advisory board, I worked with school officials on several aspects of the dinner, and I am thrilled with how the night turned out.

In the months leading up to the event, I reached out to several of my friends in professional sports, asking for their assistance in securing autographed items the event’s silent auction. Every person that I sought the help of sent me a valuable piece of memorabilia, and I am extremely grateful for that.

Every one of the nearly 50 items in the silent auction received bids, and they brought in more than $7,000 in revenue for the football program. Those items included a baseball signed by Derek Jeter, jerseys autographed by Yogi Berra and Don Mattingly, an autographed Denver Broncos helmet by Tim Tebow and a photograph signed by LSU football coach Les Miles, which he also inscribed “Geaux Cougars.”

The Yankees also made a significant contribution to the Cougars football program. It makes me proud to be a part of an organization that supports the projects that its employees care about. And, when I’m in Dallas, Pennsylvania, this fall for a game, it will also give me pride in knowing that the Yankees made an impact Misericordia University’s first season of football.

For me, the highlight of the Kickoff Party was introducing the keynote speaker, Ottis Anderson. The former University of Miami running back, who is one of only 25 players to amass 10,000 rushing yards in NFL history, played a key role in the New York Giants first two Super Bowl championships. After earning his first Super Bowl ring during the 1986 season, Anderson powered the Giants past the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV (1990 season), and he will always be remembered for winning MVP honors in that game.

During his speech, Anderson, who I reached out to about through a mutual friend in March, brought several members of the Cougars football team onto the stage.

“There’s only one first season of Misericordia football,” Anderson said. “Play with pride every time you take the field in 2012, because you will be part of history.”

Before the night was over, I conducted an interview with Anderson, for a “Five Minutes With” feature that will appear in the October Issue of Yankees Magazine. That edition will also include a “Five Minutes With” interview with fellow Super Bowl MVP, Franco Harris, who recently visited Yankee Stadium.

Finally, without the advice and assistance of my wife Tiana on this project, I am certain that the auction would not have been nearly as successful and the evening would not have gone so smoothly.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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