First Ever Charity Flag-football Game on Campus

Darcy Dulapa, Staff Intern

Oakland University’s Club Football team challenged the faculty and staff to a flag-football game with 100 percent of the game’s proceeds going to Grace Centers of Hope, a non-profit Christian charity, devoted to changing the lives of the unwanted, addicted and homeless through positivity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“In your community, you want to be active and make a difference by trying to bring a light point into somebody’s life who doesn’t really have that type of excitement,” linebacker Bobby Saad said.

During off-season, the team did a variety of community service. From volunteering at Grace Centers of Hope, St. Jude’s hospital, field-days and senior outreach programs. Head Coach Tom Menas said his team has put nearly one hundred hours of community service in.

“My number one function here is to graduate my players and create great, young men for the community,” Menas said. 

Menas started as the defensive coordinator for the team in 2015 but, after receiving the title of best defensive team in the country, he was soon appointed head coach. As the head coach, Menas challenged his players to become more of a football team. That meant winter workouts, something the team had never done before. Shortly after, the team won the National Championship in 2016, going 12-0. Menas was also named 2016 NCFA coach of the year.

But, the team’s continuous success does not end there. Starting this season, it will be playing games on campus for the first time in Oakland’s history. This has been in the works for 60 years, and is a monumental moment for many, both on and off Oakland’s campus.

“When you first meet Tom, he kind of sends you a message that this is more than just a club,” said quarterback Ben Hajciar. “It’s not just your ordinary club, it’s like a real college football team.”

Faculty Advisor Nick Bongers said over the summer the team volunteered at Grace Centers of Hope and had such a memorable experience that they decided to prolong their relationship with the organization by having this charity football game dedicated to them.

When asked if they would be taking it easy on the staff and faculty team, Saad responded with, “we don’t take it easy on anybody, we never really take the foot off the gas, it’s the philosophy that we live by.”

Anthony Gallina, annual giving officer at Oakland, is played on the staff and faculty team and explained how exciting it was to see the fun everyone was having.

“I’m a two-time alum, so I’ve been around a long time, and this is something we have been waiting a long time for,” Gallina said. “It’s historic and I think we’re all very happy to be part of it.”

When preparing for this charity game, Menas said Glen McIntosh was a key component. By arranging the right people to prep the fields and anything else Menas thought was needed for this game to run smoothly, McIntosh got the job done.

“I think this will become an annual event, it was a lot of fun and we drew a good crowd of students, faculty and staff,” McIntosh said.