This year, thousands of youngsters will visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame - many for the first time - thanks to the generosity of Hall of Fame coach and the Hall of Fame Education Foundation.
When Madden learned that bus transportation costs alone were enough to prevent some school and youth groups from being able to visit the Hall of Fame, he contacted Hall of Fame officials. The NFL coach turned broadcaster, well known for traveling by way of a custom designed bus, The Outback Steakhouse Madden Cruiser, informed the officials of his desire to underwrite the transportation overhead.
"When John learned that transportation costs were preventing school and youth groups from visiting the Hall of Fame, he took action," explained Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry. "John's only request was that the grant money be used to assist schools and youth groups that include a significant number of economically disadvantaged youth who might otherwise not have the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame. Obviously, the Hall of Fame and the thousands of young people who will benefit from this act of generosity appreciate John's thoughtfulness and commitment to our youth."
Although the Hall of Fame does offer free or reduced admission rates to schools and youth groups participating in most of its outreach programs, funds to cover transportation costs previously have not been available.
"I believe that history has been something lost on kids today. The Hall of Fame is all about football history. With this program, schools, boys and girls clubs, camps, and underprivileged children will be able to come to the Hall of Fame to learn about our history," said Madden.
Response to the foundation grant has been immediate. "Dozens of schools and youth groups representing more than 3,500 kids have already visited or have scheduled a visit to the Hall of Fame as a result of the grant," stated Hall of Fame Educational Programs Coordinator Jerry Csaki. "It has really made a difference."
The Hall of Fame unveiled its unique Educational Outreach Program in the spring of 1984 and it has since expanded to include year-round youth outreach programs. The programs have since attracted more than 150,000 participants.
Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He coached the Raiders for 10 seasons, posting a regular season record of 103 wins, 32 losses and 7 ties. During that time, he guided the team to seven Western Division titles, including five in a row from 1972 to 1976. Under Madden's guidance, Oakland never experienced a losing season. Madden's Raiders made eight playoff appearances, including a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. Perennial winners, the team never finished with fewer than 8 wins in the then-14 game season (8-4-2 in 1970, 1971). Madden has won fifteen television Emmy Awards as an NFL Analyst for CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC. He is currently in his second season with NBC as the analyst for Sunday Night Football.
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Pro Football Hall of Fame Educational Outreach and Youth Programs>>>