Heading Logo

William Powell celebrity tourney held at Clearview

Outing celebrates 70th anniversary of golf course

By WALTER DOERSCHUK The Press-News Published: September 2, 2016 10:00 AM
  • 1 of 3 Photos | View More Photos

EAST CANTON-- Saturday was a day that brought celebrities including Pro Football Hall of Famers and a former Major League Baseball star to the area. It was a day that was sun-drenched and humid.

It was an important day to honor the man who built Clearview Golf Club 70 years ago, the late William Powell. He was the first African American to found, own and operate a public course.

Renee Powell, William's daughter, gathered the celebrities and other players around their carts to start the morning.

"It's hard to imagine 70 years ago that he had such a vision at the age of 28 to allow everybody access to golf," Powell said.

Dave Robinson, one of the 2013 class of Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees, was one of the celebrities who joined the golf groups. He won three Super Bowl rings with the Green Bay Packers and also spent time with the Washington Redskins.

[Article continues below]

He didn't meet the Powell family until the 1980s when his NFL playing days were done. But he still has great admiration for William's achievements.

"It was hard being an African American. It was hard," Robinson said. "He paid the price. This guy had to do all of this stuff to get this course made and get it up, and to see it now, it is amazing. To me, it ought to be his tournament. I respect him... and I will come back as long as I can to this one."

Andre Thornton, a former Cleveland Indian, played the outing with some family members.

"I met Renee years ago," said the first baseman nicknamed Thunder. "She invited me to come down and play, and through that I met Mr. and Mrs. Powell and Larry, and we tried to come as often as we could because we think its a good fundraiser for a great cause."

Cleveland Browns legend Leroy Kelly and former teammate Al Jenkins joined the festivities for the 32nd consecutive year. Former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris, the receiver of the "immaculate reception" was also among the group.

[Article continues below]

Robinson spent a long time before the outing began catching up with fellow celebrities and other golfers.

A number of them came up to his cart to shake his hand and share a short chat.

Robinson also noted Kelly brought some of his friends from New Jersey to the event. Robinson is also from New Jersey.

"It's just a small reunion every year," he said.

Robinson, 75, expressed he still has a passion for the game he played. He appreciates coming back to the game's birthplace.

"I live, breath football all of my life," Robinson said. "Ever since I hit my first guy in the eye and found out it hurt him, I said /hey I love this game.'"

Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.