Arians Family Foundation hosts tournament at Reynolds for sixth year

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Bruce and Chris Arians talk about the importance of Court Appointed Special Advocates, which is directly benefitted from the Arians foundation’s annual charity tournament.

PHOTO: Justin Hubbard

By Justin Hubbard

justin@lakeoconeenews.us

 

Celebrities from all over converged on Lake Country earlier this week for the sixth annual Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic, which benefits the Arians Family Foundation.

The AFF was started by former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and his wife, Chris. The primary goal of the AFF is providing support to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which strives to assist children in the court system. Chris Arians had dealings with CASA during her time as an attorney and continued working with CASA afterward.

The Arians family also hosts an annual tournament in the Phoenix area. The Georgia-based tournament is always held at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee at the Oconee Golf Course.

When speaking to members of the press prior to Monday’s tournament at The Ritz-Carlton, the Arians expressed their gratitude to the dozens of celebrities who help make the tournament a success.

“It's amazing how much it's grown,” Bruce Arians said. “Each and every year, it gets better. Thanks to all the celebrities who show up every year but, more than that, the people who are donating their time and their money because that's really what it's all about is raising money for a great cause to help children.”

Each year, the Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic raises thousands of dollars. That’s made possible by the fact a who’s who list of participants regularly attend the event.

This year’s guest list included the likes of Frank Beamer, a retired college football coach who is best known for his time at Virginia Tech, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jerome Bettis, former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, new Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen and Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart, among several others.

“The cause is great,” Beamer said. “We actually have property here, so we're spending a couple of months down here right now so it all works out real well for me.”

Beamer has longstanding ties to the Lake Country area. While doing an interview at Monday’s tournament, he gushed about his experience around Lake Oconee.

“If you like lake and you like golf, this is about as good as it gets,” Beamer said. “Then, you put in people and I've never met anyone bad down here. Everyone is very hospitable. It's a good setting down here.”

Smart owns property at Reynolds Lake Oconee, too. He and Trey Rhodes, a Greene County native who currently serves as the representative of Georgia’s 120th District, became friends while at Georgia in the mid-90s.

Since then, Smart has been a big fan of the area.

“I actually came down here all through college, so '94 to '98,” Smart said. “I had a good friend (Rhodes) that lived down here and we came here in college and got to hang out and be around him. I was really young then. I always liked it and enjoyed it. I thought it would be a great place if I ever had the opportunity to join and we were fortunate to do it. It's been great being part of the community. It's very laid-back here at the lake, a lot of golf courses, and our kids love it. That's the most important thing.”

There was a lot of talk about football. It was only natural, considering the wealth of current and former players and coaches gathered.

The focus, however, always steered back to the AFF and CASA.

“Forty to 50 percent of foster kids that age out without a CASA end up on the streets homeless,” Chris Arians said. “So, that's why we need more CASAs, we need more mentors.”

Smart tipped his hat to the Arians for their hard work with the organization. He said their passion for CASA is a reason why he is regularly involved in the charity tournament.

“I think Bruce and his wife are one of the few advocates for this charity,” Smart said. “To get a chance to give back, especially locally here where I'm going to be here anyway, it's really important to do that. Any chance we get to do that is a pleasure to us and a pleasure to me and my wife to support it.”

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