The camp is for youngsters from the first to eighth grade for the first time, but the turnout was excellent, according to Bartrum. "We just want to thank all the parents who brought their children out today to have fun and hopefully learn some lessons," said the former long-snapper of the Philadelphia Eagles who retired this spring. " Marshall is so great to us and it takes many, many voluteers, players and coaches to make all of this happen." Brown echoed his former teammate, but said the important thing is the children have fun and the camp helps in many areas. "Last summer, our camp was able to pay to keep the A.D. Lewis pool open," said Brown of the youth center on Hal Greer Blvd. "But the main thing is the kids have fun, while hopefully getting prepared to be successes in the future. Maybe something or someone at the camp makes a difference in their young lives." Money from the camp is directed to youth agencies in Huntington (where Brown lives) and Pomeroy, Ohio (where Bartrum lives), as well as to their alma mater Marshall.
Troy Brown of the New England Patriots and Mike Bartrum, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, held their camp again this year at Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday and hosted nearly 600 children. photo from patriots.com
Bartrum, who also played in Kansas City, Green Bay, New England (where he and Brown lost a Super Bowl to the Packers) and finally in Philadelphia, was a Pro Bowl player in 2005. His 11 catches for six touchdowns is the second-best ratio ever in the NFL for scores to receptions. He and Brown, a three-time winner of the Super Bowl and also a former Pro Bowl receiver, have invited many former Marshall players and coaches to be a part of the camp. Current profession players who played for Marshall, like New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, St. Louis Rams running back and long-snapper Chris Massey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers center John Wade, and Miami Dolphins tight end Jason Rader, all attended the camp to work with the children.
Also at the camp were former Herd head coaches Bob Pruett (1996-2004), Jim Donnan (1990-95) and Jack Lengyel (1971-74), along with current head coach Mark Snyder (since 2005) and former Thundering Herd assistant (1968-71) William "Red" Dawson. Former Herd players like Carl Lee (cornerback, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints), Andre O'Neil (linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs), Billy Lyons (defensive line, Packers and Vikings), attended as well as former MU QB and former University of Georgia assistant Todd Donnan also were in attendance, along with Herd players like Mark Mason, LaVorne Colclough, Aaron Ferguson, Larry McCloud, Eric Turner and Chris Grose. Many teammates and friends of Bartrum and Brown from the NFL in attendance included Mike Vrable, linebacker and Lee Vickers, a tight end with Philadelphia. Vrable was probably the standout person of the camp when he took nine-year-old Taylor Sexton of Proctorville, Ohio, who is confined to a wheelchair, through all the drills in the camp. Vrable lifted the youngster in and out of the chair for grass drills he could do on his own, then pushed the child through bag drills and pass catching drills in the wheelchair, picking up fumbles and helping the youngster to participate fully in camp activities.
Other retired professional players, besides the former MU players who spent time in the pros, included Allen Degraffenreid, a retired wide receiver who played for the Chiefs and Packers, who has been in attendance at every Bartrum & Brown Football Camp since its beginnings over a decade ago in first Meigs, Ohio. The camp then moved to Spring Valley High School, when current MU assistant and former player Phil Ratliff was head coach, and then to Huntington High School in the Tri-State area before moving to MU.
Following the football camps, adults had their own festivities at the Don Morris Room of the Marshall University Memorial Student Center. The highlight of the evening was the introduction of Bartrum, Brown and Pennington, who then introduced Lengyel, Donnan and Pruett for a short talk from each former Herd head coach. Donnan, who coached MU to a National Championship and three I-AA finals, was especially a hit with the crowd in one of his first public appearances since going to first Georgia, then ESPN, but each coach encouraged the largely pro-Marshall crowd to get behind the current team of Mark Snyder and return the program to the glory years of the decade of the 1990s and early in the 2000s.
A silent auction of 30 items from 6-7 p.m. was followed by a live auction beginning at 8:00 p.m. Featured auction items included all-time greats like Muhammad Ali, Walter Payton, Mickey Mantle, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Namath and Dale Earnhardt Jr, as well as items from country music superstars like Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Chesney and boxer Oscar DeLaHoya. There were also items autographed by Pennington, former MU quarterback Byron Leftwich and Laker great Kobe Bryant. Jerseys signed by sports legends such as Joe Montana and Jerry Rice of the 49ers, Dan Marino of the Dophins, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr. and Eric Davis of the Reds, Jerry West of the Lakers, Willie Mays of the Giants, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Orioles, John Elway of the Broncos, Gale Sayers of the Bears, Roger Staubach of the Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Steel Curtain helmet and jersey highlighted the auction, which hoped to raise $100,000 combined with the golf outing at Twin Silos in Lavalette. 34 foursomes participated Sunday in the golf, with John Wade being the highest auctioned player or coach, golfing with the group from South Point Ford for $3,500.
The Bartrum and Brown Camp is sponsored by First Sentry Bank, Ferris-Baker-Watts, Marathon Petroleum, The Home Show, Stylecrest, Smith Motor Company, Cingular-The new AT&T, South Point Ford, Pepsi, Eagle Distributing and Solutions Technology. The B&B committee is made up of Mary Gannon, Rich Gannon, Bob Hardwick, David Miller, John Montenez, Rich Worner, Kemmeth Rivers, Mike Chancey and Steve Brown, along with many, many voluteers who have made the camp a success. Bartrum and Brown also wish to thank Marshall University, especially Dr. Stephen Kopp, President, and coach Snyder for the use of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium and Marshall Memorial Student Center, as well as Twin Silos Golf Club, S.S. Logan, Heiner's, the Angie Fletcher Band and WRVC/WDGG/Kindred Communications for all of their assistances in making the camp fun.