For its 55th year, the Mad Anthonys Celebrity Classic for Children is reinventing itself.
Annually a single-day event, the classic will try for two days starting Sunday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club after Butler men's basketball coach Brad Stevens receives the Red Coat during the organizations annual banquet at Memorial Coliseum this evening.
“I'm excited to be a part of the Mad Anthonys,” Stevens said. “I'm certainly honored. Anytime that you end up doing things that benefit a very good cause you are certainly even more excited to do it.”
An Indiana native, Stevens has been the head men's basketball coach at Butler University since 2007. He earned national recognition after taking the Bulldogs to the championship game of the NCAA men's tournament in both 2010 and 2011.
The banquet kicks off the annual Charity Classic for Children which continues Sunday and Monday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. It's the first time the event will be using a two-day format and the first time the event will also feature for the first time an official host.
Fort Wayne native and LPGA player Amanda Blumenhurst is bringing with her a dozen women's tour player who will play a two-day exhibition for a $300,000 purse.
The list of pros includes Stacey Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Angela Stafford, Laura Diaz, Christina Kim, Sarah Jane Smith, Sandra Gal Belen Mozo, Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari and LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez. They'll start playing at Noon Sunday and 8 a.m. on Monday.
Heritage Food Service Group Inc. is the title sponsor.
The celebrities this year include actors Danny Chamber, Roger Ranney and Tim Haldeman, Komets coach Al Sims, Olympic gold medalist Lloy Ball, NBA player Brad Miller, Komets broadcaster Bob Chase, IPFW men's volleyball coach Arnie Ball, Reggie Hodges and Christian Yount of the Cleveland Browns, IPFW men's basketball coach Tony Jasick, former NFL player Jason Fabini and former Butler coach Barry Collier. Some of the celebrities will play both days and some only on Monday.
The annual Mad Anthonys Charity Classic has been a Fort Wayne traditon since its founding in 1957. In 2007, the Mad Anthonys began a partnership with Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House, dedicatng 90 percent of its fundraising eforts to the organizaton.
The Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House provides nearby lodging and support services for the families of children undergoing pediatric and neonatal treatment. Because Fort Wayne has become a health care hub for all of northern Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio, this functon is critcal to the families of children with severe illnesses and conditons.
Passes, good for both days, are on sale for $20 and are are available at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, Fort Wayne Country Club and both Bobick's Golf Headquarters Fort Wayne locations. There is no admission charge for children under age 16 with the purchase of an adult pass.
Free parking and shuttle service will be available Sunday at Covington Elementary School and Monday from 6:45 a.m. to about 6 p.m. from The Chapel at Covington Road and West Hamilton Road.