Bulldog Football 101 Ladies Night Grows in Year Two Print
News - Sports
Written by Jason Clay   
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 06:42

FRESNO - Fresno State held its Football 101 Ladies Night Tuesday evening at Bulldog Stadium, its second year for head coach Tim DeRuyter, wife Kara and coaching staff running the fun and memorable social event that provides women with a unique behind-the-scenes look at Bulldog football.

With help from presenting sponsor Saint Agnes Medical Center, Fresno Lexus and increased attendance in year two, the football program made a $6,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen Central Valley Foundation for breast cancer research and awareness that will directly impact residents right here in the San Joaquin Valley.

"We have two primary reasons for having our clinic," DeRuyter told the group of roughly 130 participants. "One is to get a little bit of a background on Bulldog football, what our coaches are all about and our program is all about, but the second reason and arguably the more important reason is to support Susan G. Komen in breast cancer research that we do that directly effects people right here [in the Valley]."

The DeRuyter family has been touched by breast cancer. Tim's mother is a breast cancer survivor as is his sister-in-law.

"Since we've been here that has been a cause of ours that we've been very close with and we want to continue to support it in any way that we can," Tim said. "I love the fact that it stays right here in the Central Valley."

Sharon Johnson, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Central Valley Foundation and two-time breast cancer survivor, said the funds raised Tuesday night will be used towards directly educating young women in high schools in the Central Valley and to form focus groups for stage 3 and stage 4 breast cancer patients to get them the help that they need.

"What is going to be great about that is the young women are going to learn, because the youngest breast cancer survivor in Fresno County is only 14-years-old, but they are going to be educated and take this information home to their mothers," Johnson said. "If they do not have breast cancer health information available, their mom's will get it too, so that's a real priority of ours."

Along with supporting breast cancer awareness, the second purpose of the event was to engage with women in the community in a fun-filled environment. Participants were able to interact with the Bulldog coaches, their wives and student-athletes to create a close connection to the program and see what the Bulldogs are all about.

"Just meeting the players and meeting the coaches, it really brought home that we all live here and we love Fresno State and we are a part of this community," said Kara DeRuyter.

The program of the evening consisted of three panels, one where participants met with the offensive staff, one with the defensive staff along with a player panel where participants asked team members questions about their experiences as student-athletes and in the game of football.

That content helped provide participants with fundamental information on the game of football, how the Bulldogs prepare for games and gave them a glimpse into the lives of the student-athletes.

"We took a pool and about half the women were here a year ago that had a great time and came back and another half came for the first time," DeRuyter said. "It was a larger crowd, we were able to raise more money and again giving them background and information on Bulldog football, the behind-the-scenes look.

"Our coaches have fun with it and hopefully all the ladies did as well."