It’s up for debate whether Bruce Arians is more of a father figure or a cool uncle to the players he has coached. Either way, it was overwhelmingly evident this weekend that his impact goes far beyond the football field.
The Cardinals’ coach held his Arizona Celebrity Golf Classic charity event at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa on Friday and Saturday, and a who’s who of NFL stars showed up for the cause.
“He’s like a father figure to me, and I just feel truly blessed to have that type of relationship, as my coach for a long time, but even now,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “Even though he’s not my coach any more, we still talk frequently, we golf together. I’m the player I am today because of him.”
The Cardinals were represented by quarterback
Other players included Roethlisbeger, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson and former Rams running back Eric Dickerson. FOX analyst Jay Glazer, actor Anthony Anderson, analyst Rick Neuheisel and University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez also attended the event.
“You can tell he cares about you outside of football, (more than just) what you can do for him on a football field,” Luck said.
Arians held the tournament to raise proceeds for the Arians Family Foundation, which supports Court Appointed Special Advocates who help out children in the court system. His wife, Christine, has been involved with the cause for the past 15 years.
“She’s helped kids stay in their families, help the families improve,” Arians said. “She’s also made the decision with the judge to take them out of the home. She’s been fortunate enough to get some kids out and adopted in Pittsburgh. Not just get them into foster care. Foster care is better, but it’s not the end-all.”
Arians said there are 10,000 kids in foster care in Maricopa County and a limited supply of CASAs. The money raised will help train the CASAs who will then hopefully become a stable presence in the child’s life.
Arians said Christine still stays in touch with many of the families she has mentored in past years, including the mother and son from when she began in 1999 as well as a girl named April from their time in Pittsburgh.
“April talks to her almost every day still,” Arians said. “She actually resigned from being April’s CASA so she could take her on a trip out of state. It was fun. They have a good bond.”
The event held special meaning to Glazer, who had to go through the process of adopting his son for seven years before gaining full custody.“Too often these kids are stuck in this red tape,” Glazer said. “They’re kids. They shouldn’t be stuck in red tape. If somebody wants to give them a loving home, it should be a lot easier than it is.”
Anderson and his four teammates won the event, shooting an aggregate score of 54 in the best-ball format. Bettis’ group finished in second place with a 55, followed by Dickerson’s group, which shot a 56.