Five Inducted into VIP Hall of Fame at 2017 Tailgate Event

VIP’s sponsors, supporters, mentors and mentees gathered at Ford Field on October 2 for the 2017 Tailgate event.

Sixth Annual “Coaches for Kids Maize ‘N’ Green Tailgate”  – Monday, October 2nd, 2017, at Ford Field

Our supporters flocked to Ford Field as five new members were inducted into VIP’s Hall of Fame. Each of these VIP greats have shown tremendous support for our organization and for many other causes.

In 2012, VIP created the Coaches for Kids Maize ‘N’ Green Tailgate as our annual fundraising event.  The event has been held at Ford Field with over 50 former MSU and U of M alumni football players and coaches, corporate sponsors, media members, the U of M and MSU marching bands, and community leaders.  With a festive and friendly “maize and blue” and “green and white” rivalry atmosphere, the event is a prelude to “the big football game” taking place that weekend.  Former U of M head coach Lloyd Carr and former MSU head coach George Perles have been special guests over the years.

The 2017 Hall of Fame honorees are:

George Blaha – play-by-play announcer for MSU football for four decades, as well as announcer for the Detroit Pistons.

Frank Beckmann – the play-by-play announcer for U of M football for 33 years, taking over from the legendary Bob Ufer.

Andre Rison – former star football wide receiver for MSU, where he also lettered in basketball and track, and as a senior was named First Team All-American.

Marcus Ray – a safety and strong safety for U of M football from 1994 to 98, including the year that Michigan won the 1997 national championship.

Jim Comer – a board member of VIP Mentoring since 2003, and a mentor for the organization since 2000. Following a distinguished career at Lear, he founded Comer Holdings.

Speakers included 2015 Miss Michigan United States Da’Stanza Murphy as emcee, VIP President and CEO Kimberly Vann, Detroit Lions great Lem Barney, and VIP board member Jerome Espy, who introduced former MSU and U-M players, and moderated a lively discussion with Blaha and Beckmann.

Presenting sponsor was Lear Corporation, with Ford and Gill Industries participating as 50-Yard Line sponsors. There were 36 additional sponsors.

The event was produced by former VIP board member Jessica Guyor, with VIP and Lear staffs.


NOTE: Neither VIP Mentoring nor the “Coaches for Kids Maize ‘N’ Green Tailgate” event are affiliated with or endorsed by either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University

The “Big Board” thanking just some of the sponsors
VIP Board Member Jerome Espy moderating a discussion between legendary announcers Frank Beckmann and George Blaha.
VIP President and CEO Kimberly Vann inducts long-time board member Jim Comer into the VIP Hall of Fame