Reunited for good cause
by Bob Brownne
Jun 21, 2013 | 4383 views | 0 0 comments | 168 168 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Charity golf tournament
Keena Turner, vice president for football affairs for the San Francisco 49ers, watches his drive on the first tee of Ruby Hills Golf Course in Pleasanton on Monday, June 17, during his annual benefit tournament for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy. This is the 18th year the Tracy resident has hosted the charity tournament.  Bob Brownne/Tracy Press
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After 18 years, Keena Turner has little trouble getting his former San Francisco 49ers teammates to help him raise money for a good cause.

The 24 celebrities who joined 167 golfers at the 18th annual Keena Turner Golf Tournament on Monday, June 17, at Ruby Hills Golf Course in Pleasanton included seven members of the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team from the 1981 season.

“That’s humbling, that my teammates have responded the way they have over the years,” Turner said Monday.

The Tracy resident started the charity event to raise money for the Tracy Boys & Girls Club.

Kelly Wilson, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy, said she expected the tournament to net about $150,000. It’s one of the club’s big benefits of the year, along with a dinner and auction in October.

The money contributes to the club’s $1.6 million annual budget, which supports memberships for 4,400 Tracy children. Wilson said about 700 go to the six clubhouses in Tracy every day.

Some players who came to support the cause were with him through four Super Bowls — including defensive back Ronnie Lott and quarterback Joe Montana.

So were 1981 Super Bowl teammates and defensive backs Eric Wright and Dwight Hicks, defensive lineman Dwaine Board and wide receiver Dwight Clark.

“I love playing in this tournament,” Clark said. “We’d do anything for our teammates. (Turner) is just one of the greatest guys, with his personality and his involvement in the community. We want to support anything he does.”

Linda Turner, Keena’s wife and co-organizer of the benefit event, said that interest in the 49ers — boosted by a Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 2012 season and plans for Levi’s Stadium to open in Santa Clara in 2014 — helped draw one of the biggest crowds yet.

“People are 49er fans, so we’ll get people to support the event,” she said. “We had to turn people away because we sold out the event so quickly.”

Golfers got to meet 49ers CEO Jed York and team president, Gideon Yu. Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi also played on Monday.

Linda Turner said a foursome of golfers could sign up through a $3,000 corporate sponsorship and be paired with a participating celebrity.

Corporate sponsors included some of Keena Turner’s old friends, such as Emil Lovely, a former teammate from his days playing at Purdue University in Indiana.

“Both Keena and Linda have inspired people to support the Boys & Girls Club of Tracy, which is by far a priority for that community,” Lovely said. “It’s exciting to see these kids come out and meet the people who support them.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.
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