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Posted on Sun, May 16, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson golf outing raises more than $1 million and looks to the future

By Michael Rothstein


Former Michigan football players Braylon Edwards and David Terrell horse around during the Champions for Children's Hearts golf scramble fundraiser at Michigan Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.

Melanie Maxwell |

It began as a one-day Monday event in 2007 with a round of golf and a banquet in a tent at the University of Michigan Golf Course.

What it has become, though, is what Brian Griese and Steve Hutchinson hoped.

The Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts Weekend now is one of the marquee events within the Michigan football family. Part golf tournament, part fundraiser and total Michigan football reunion, it's also something else - a million dollar event.

After raising $1.2 million in its first three years combined, more than $1 million will go to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital this year, Griese said before he teed off Sunday morning.

“To raise a million dollars, in this economy, in this state, is not a small feat,” said Griese, Michigan's starting quarterback on the 1997 national championship team. “… That was our goal. It was clearly stated, a lot of things came together to accomplish it, but that was a goal of ours.”

With the new Mott Children’s Hospital funded and being built to open in 2012, Griese, Hutchinson and Charles Woodson and the group’s steering committee - which also includes Drs. Rick Ohye and John Charpie of the Michigan Congenital Heart Center and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon - are searching for the next goals.

Griese said they are thinking about taking the event to multiple golf courses to “continue to build this thing out” and keep raising money for Mott and, potentially, other causes.

“We were talking the other night, when the hospital is built and 18 months from now when it is opening and running, what direction are we going to go with it,” said Hutchinson, an offensive lineman who played 1998-2001 at Michigan and is currently with the Minnesota Vikings. “We have some options, whether it is going to continue to fund research, whatever the next step or option might be.

“I think people expect this and look forward to being able to contribute, so we’d be doing a lot of people an injustice if we were to not to continue.”

The event has inspired other former players, like Philadelphia Eagles safety Marlin Jackson, to start golf outings. Jackson said he’s putting together a fundraiser for his foundation in Indianapolis.

The banquet Saturday evening included a silent auction and live auction. It’s also where many of the who’s who of Michigan’s recent football past often congregate. Besides the charity component, this is what Hutchinson and Griese envisioned when they put this event together in 2007.

Michigan has no official football reunion. With many players in the NFL, coming back for games in the fall isn’t an option for 10, sometimes 15 years.

But they have this weekend. And it is a weekend of fun that isn’t going to go away. Former quarterback Drew Henson, in the middle of an interview, had his stash of Twizzlers attacked by his former teammates.

Take Tim Biakabatuka. Now based in the Carolinas, the former Michigan running back came up for the event and spent breakfast Sunday morning chatting with former teammate Jarrett Irons.

“That’s why it’s enticing,” Biakabatuka said. “But you shouldn’t forget the basic reason for it and the basic reason has been achieved so the other stuff is a bonus.

“The bonus is that you get to see guys you played with who you haven’t seen in a while and raise money for a good cause."

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:30 a.m.

I'm sure that's what happened.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

BlueMom - I would be happy to call out Jake Long and his friends on their behavior on Friday night. I didn't want to mention it in the first post, in case it got removed - may think it's character defamation or something like that. Anyway, the incident did, in fact, happen as I described. There was a bar full of witnesses to attest to this. In fact, as I was being escorted out of the bar, an altercation broke out involving the football group and another group of patrons (who also got thrown out, by the way). This probably isn't the most appropriate forum to bring up the incident, but I felt I had to say something because it makes me sick to see Mr. Long being associated with such a positive event given my personal experience with him.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 12:42 p.m.

Sorry, Sharc -- I do not believe your story. If a "well-known" Michigan player was associated with this incident, then you should call him out on this. --- if this is true, why aren't you investigating the incident?? if this is false, why are you allowing the comment to be published??


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 7:46 a.m.

I am so grateful to read how much these guys have raised. My son lost his battle against CHD two weeks before his 3rd birthday and we raised over $11,000 last year for Michigan Congenital Heart Center at our memorial golf event. I only wish we could raise this much money for U of M in one weekend. We are doing it again this year!


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 10:53 p.m.

This has been a great success and I applaud the efforts of those involved. Unfortunately, this weekend left me with a bittersweet taste for Michigan football. On Friday, some friends and I gathered at the Heidelberg to catch up and have a few drinks. A well-known former UM player and his entourage also happened to be at the bar that night. As I was walking to the restroom, one of his friends, unprovoked, intentionally sprayed beer on my friend and I. When I asked him to stop, this ex-player stepped in to confront me and threatened to hurt me if I didn't leave. Realizing I was grossly undersized, I promptly left the situation, only to have the bartender ask my party and I to leave the premises on the grounds that we had mistreated these VIP guests. The despicable sense of entitlement shown by the gentleman was surpassed only by the gall of the establishment to promote his behavior. I understand I'm the small fish in this situation, but it's insulting nonetheless. Anyway, congratulations for the players who contributed their time and money for this worthy cause, but I'm going to hold my breath next time I think of praising the class of a "Michigan man". What a joke!


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 6:05 p.m.

Hail to the Victors, that being Mott's hospital.