Seeds for Life, a La Verne-based regional charity that provides food and a variety of services for people in need, has lined up three local basketball legends plus former UCLA basketball coach Jim Harrick for its sixth annual celebrity golf tournament, to be held Monday, Nov. 3, at Glendora Country Club.
Tracy Murray and Casey Jacobsen, two of the greatest high school basketball players ever in Southern California, have agreed to play in the Sowing Seeds for Life tournament and also participate in a panel discussion moderated by Chris Roberts, a Glendora resident and longtime radio voice of UCLA football and basketball.
Mike LeDuc, who coached both Murray and Jacobsen at Glendora High and has won more than 800 games in his long illustrious career, and Harrick, who coached Murray at UCLA, will also participate in the panel discussion. Harrick, who will be making his third appearance at a Sowing Seeds for Life tournament, coached UCLA to its 11th and last national basketball championship in 1995. John Wooden coached UCLA to the previous 10 national titles. A basketball autographed by Wooden was earlier auctioned off, but many other great items will be available to bid on at the tournament.
The Sowing Seeds tournament in the past has attracted some of the biggest names in the Southern California sports scene, people such as Dodger legends Bill Russell, Ron Cey and Steve Garvey;
Laker legends Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, James Worth and Bill Sharman; horse racing’s Laffit Pincay and Trevor Denman, Kings Hall of Fame announcer Bob Miller, and nationally known sports braodcasters and entertainer Roy Firestone. The list goes on and on.
“This year, we’re taking a different approach,” said Vicki Brown, the founder and CEO of Sowing Seeds for Life. “We’re going after mostly local legends, and we have landed two of the biggest – Tracy Murray and Casey Jacobsen, plus Coach LeDuc and Jim Harrick.”
They played at Glendora High 10 years apart and both went on to star in college and play in the NBA and abroad. Murray went from Glendora High to UCLA in 1989, where he became No. 5 on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list and was named to the Pac-10 all-conference team twice. Jacobsen went from Glendora High to Stanford in 1999, where he became No. 3 on the Cardinal’s all-time scoring list, was a two-time All-American and a three-time All-Pac-10 player.
Murray finished his high school career as the CIF Southern Section’s all-time leading scorer with 3,053 points. That record was broken by Jacobsen, who finished with 3,284 points. It should be noted Murray played only three years of varsity ball due to a hip injury; Jacobsen played four years.
Murray led his Glendora High team to a state championship game, where he scored 64 points in an 89-83 loss to Northern California champion Menlo Atherton High. Murray led the nation with a scoring average of 44.3 points per game as a senior.
After UCLA, Murray played 14 seasons in the NBA. His best was with the Toronto Raptors in 1995-96 when he averaged 16.2 points per game. Murray was with the Lakers one season (2002-03). He is now the radio commentator on UCLA basketball broadcasts, working alongside Roberts.
Jacobsen, as a senior at Glendora, was named the state player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports. Also, the Los Angeles Times named Jacobsen the Southern California high school athlete of the year.
After Stanford, Jacobsen played in the NBA for five seasons, including three with the Phoenix Suns, before spending the rest of his playing career in Europe. He is now retired and pursuing a career in broadcasting.
Of participating in the Sowing Seeds tournament, Jacobsen said, “I’m excited and honored to be a part of the Sowing Seeds for Life golf tournament on Nov. 3. There are two things I can guarantee: You will record a better round of golf than I will and you will have a great time contributing to a worthwhile cause.
“I look forward to seeing everybody in Glendora!”
The celebrity sports panel discussion has become a Sowing Seeds for Life tradition.
The first one consisted of Jerry West, James Worthy, Jim Harrick and former Dodger shortstop and manager Bill Russell. Elgin Baylor and Bill Sharman were also at that year’s tournament. That meant Sowing Seeds had attracted four men who made the NBA list of the 50 greatest players ever – West, Baylor, Worthy and Sharman. All are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Sharman is one of three in as both a player and a coach.
“We’ve had some great lineups in the past,” Brown said. “We had Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Al Downing here last year signing autographs prior to play. But we’ve never sold out. The hope is that by have local legends participate this year, we’ll draw more local attention.”
The Clark twins, Chris and Chad, who starred with Jacobsen on the Glendora High varsity for four years, will also play the tournament. A number of other celebrities will also play in the tournament or as least attend the post-play festivities, which include a steak and fish dinner, the panel discussion, awards and a live auction. Other celebrities include former UCLA and NFL wide receivers Mike Sherrard and Michael Young, former USC and Buffalo Bills cornerback Chris Hale, Pincay, the Hall of Fame jockey, and former baseball super agent Dennis Gilbert, a Beverly Hill life insurance icon who was one of the finalist to buy the Dodgers two years ago.
Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Dwyre, the newspaper’s former sports editor, has moderated the panels in recent years. This year Dwyre, a San Dimas resident, will introduce the tournament honoree, former Times sportswriter Larry Stewart and a member of the Sowing Seeds for Life tournament committee. Radio personality Joe Lyons of KSPA AM 1510 will serve as the auctioneer of the live auction.
The cost for participating in the tournament and attending the post-play dinner and auction is only $200 per golfer or $750 per foursome. The cost to attend only the dinner, which features a first-rate menu and table service, is $100 per person.
Sowing Seeds for Life, sometimes referred to as simply SSFL, is also seeking tournament sponsorships.
The tournament’s title sponsor since Day One has been the newly renamed Feinberg Family Office Private Wealth Management, which is affiliated with Morgan Stanley in both Southern California and Chicago. The group is headed by Joe Feinberg, Tamara Stein and Dan Shuler.
Feinberg and his sister Janice Feinberg, Pharm D, JD, are co-chairs of the Chicago-based Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, which specializes in social impact.
SSFL’s Vicki Brown said: “We never could have started this golf tournament without Joe Feinberg. With his backing, our annual golf tournament has become our signature fundraiser. The money we raise helps us feed some 6,000 people per month. But we don’t just hand out food and water. Because of the support we get, we offer clothing, a limited amount of medical attention, job counseling and job placement. We couldn’t do all this without support from the communities in our area.”
Brown is also the CEO of DPI Labs, an aerospace manufacturing company located at 1350 Arrow Highway in La Verne. Sowing Seeds for Life hold food pantry giveaways on the first and third Wednesday of every month in the DPI Labs parking lot.
People in need can pick up produce, nonperishable food, frozen meats, bottled water and various beverages. SSFL also provides food items to churches and other charities in the area. At the food pantries at DPI, business students from the University of La Verne offer job counseling and students from the Ontario campus of the West Coast Ultrasound Institute offer free blood pressure tests and screenings for potential blood stoppages.
“We’re looking forward to our most successful celebrity golf tournament yet,” said Brown. “So come out and enjoy a great day of golf and meet and talk with our sports celebrities and get inside stories during our panel discussion, always a highlight. You’ll have a very memorable day and have something to talk about for years to come, all while helping those in need.”