For the ninth year running,  Heisman Trophy Winner Archie Griffin and The Concession Charities join forces for the Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic, a star-studded tournament raising funds to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. And this year, the annual celebration punches up its guest card with keynote speaker and special celebrity golfer Evander Holyfield, boxing legend and the sport’s only four-time heavyweight champion. With the charity tournament teeing off on March 4, Holyfield weighed in on his reasons for loving the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. 

Why did you want to devote some of your time to the Boys and Girls Clubs?  Holyfield:  The biggest reason to point out is myself. I didn’t have anything and I really didn’t have a future. But when I joined the Boys Club at the age of six, they put me in the proper place at the proper time. I was the youngest of nine in my family. But when I got to the Boys Club, I didn’t get knocked over, I wasn’t a crybaby—I wasn’t all these things that my brothers and sisters made me out to be because they were so much older. And, all of a sudden, my confidence grew. It gave me a good balance.

When you’re visiting Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, can you see the impact they’re making?   It looks great. The fact of the matter is, it’s the Boys Clubs who are giving goals and safe haven for kids, so that these kids can at least go somewhere, have a place. I never would have been the person I am today if it wasn’t for the Boys Club. So giving back is appreciation.

Are you an avid golfer?   No, I’m not. But most of the people that helped me into boxing,
they weren’t in boxing but they were happy for me. They were so happy for me to be the very best. That’s what life’s about.

What message do you have for the young men and women of the Boys and Girls Clubs?  I would just give them the three simple things that my mother gave me. She said, “listen, follow directions, don’t quit, and you’ll reach your goal.”