What has become one of the signature events in college football to showcase the philanthropic side of dozens of coaches and provide a fundraising arm for pediatric brain cancer research is again just around the corner.
The Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation, nearly two decades old after its inception from veteran Army assistant coach John Loose and his wife, Marianne, is prepping for its second-annual virtual clinic this week – March 3-5 – though the actual clinic dates back around the foundation of the charitable venture, in honor of the Looses’ daughter, Lauren, since 2004.
“We had done the camp since 2004, for Lauren’s First and Goal, and we got to where our camps had become the biggest camp in the country, a one-day charity football camp where every single dollar went to pediatric brain services,” John Loose told FootballScoop. “We’ve had James Franklin, Bill O’Brien, Luke Fickell, Jeff Monken and so many more. Coaches from Rutgers, Syracuse, Stanford, all over the place.
“We’ve had more than 4,700 college coaches volunteer through the years and worked with more than 30,000 players. But when Covid hit (in 2020), we couldn’t have the camp.”
But the “labor of love” venture that now has raised some $2.8 million in funding toward pediatric brain tumor research and in assisting affected families with donations would not be held down long – even amidst a global pandemic.
Instead, Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation partnered with Coach Tube founder and owner Keith Grabowski to take the clinic into the virtual meeting space via online streaming.
A year after finding success with the online version of LFGF’s annual camp, the clinic is again set for later this week and, unsurprisingly, boasts a coaches’ Who’s Who of schedule participants, from Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson to NC State’s Dave Doeren to Charlotte’s Will Healy to Louisville defensive coordinator Bryan Wilson to North Carolina offensive play-caller Phil Longo, up-and-coming Army assistant Matt Drinkall and literally dozens other coaches.
“That’s how this started, doing it online, when they reached out last year about doing this virtual,” John Loose, a core assistant on Jeff Monken’s Army staff since 2014 and who in total has 16 total years coaching at West Point. “It turned out to be so successful last year that it really replaced the camp, and I don’t know if we’ll have the in-person camp again, not this year for sure.
“But essentially what happens is Coach Tube handles all the production for (the virtual) clinic, they do all the work, put together everything and they give us 80% of the revenue that is generated by the clinic. That 80% in its entirety -- 100% -- goes to Lauren’s First and Goal and pediatric brain tumor services. Everyone truly volunteers. There’s no salaries involved. No one has ever taken a nickel for salary for the foundation. It is all volunteer, 100% in and 100% out goes to pediatric brain tumor research.”
The Loose family is most touched by not only the outpouring of support from college coaches throughout the United States but also the clinic’s global growth – which simply helps spread the philanthropic message of Lauren’s First and Goal.
“The whole profession has rallied around it,” John Loose said. “So many coaches have reached out to again help this time around, and I’ve had a number of coaches tell me that they actually attended the camp as players and now have coached and are speaking at the clinic. Rutgers’ offensive coordinator, Sean Gleeson, told me the other day that he was at one of the early camps at Fairleigh Dickinson.
“We’ve had coaches from Japan, Italy, Australia and other clinics reach out.”
Too, he points out, the virtual clinic becomes archived teaching components that can be accessed for a month or an entire year, depending on the donation-subscription for this year’s event.
“Essentially, people can purchase the clinic for 30 days or a year, which is the best deal, and you get a staff pass for up to five people (to log in and view the tutorials),” John Loose said. “This format keeps making money for charity because we’ll eventually take as many clinics as we can and make course and people can buy the courses. I think these courses can even help athletes, not just coaches. Mike Sullivan (NFL quarterbacks coach) did it last year, on how to watch film as a high school quarterback. Every time somebody buys one of these courses from www.LFGF.org , if they go to our web site and our store, we get 80% of that money, too. So we can make money for Lauren’s First and Goal year-round.”
To check out this year’s complete lineup of speakers, as well as get registered in advance for the second annual virtual version of the clinic, visit the camp information page for complete details and sign-up instructions.