Pro sports stars to support 2012 Niswonger Golf Classic


Among the celebrities attending the 2012 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Golf Classic are, left to right, former University of Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl; Scott Niswonger chief benefactor of Niswonger Children’s Hospital; NFL standout Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys; and PGA star Corey Pavin; shown here at last year’s Niswonger Golf Classic.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Players at the 2012 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Golf Classic can expect another star-studded event this year, full of professional athletes from the worlds of golf, football, basketball and baseball. The event will take place Monday, June 25, at The Blackthorn Club at the Ridges.

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten will return this year, along with Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning, PGA star Corey Pavin and the children’s hospital’s namesake and chief benefactor, Scott Niswonger. Newcomers for the 2012 tournament include former Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino and PGA stars Loren Roberts and Larry Mize.

“We are so excited about the lineup of celebrities coming to this year’s Golf Classic,” said Patty Bolton, corporate director of events for the Mountain States Foundation. “Each year, our special guests get so inspired by the event and the cause it supports that they want to come back the next year and bring their friends. It is amazing to see how much it has grown.”

Funds raised from the 2012 event will support radiation oncology services for patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

Slots for the tournament’s 100 players are already full, but there is still opportunity for local residents to participate.

“Since we have such an outstanding lineup of stars this year, we’ve added a gallery at hole 8 so that more people can participate,” said Bolton. “People can bring their own lawn chairs, and box lunches will be provided by OJ’s Famous Hot Dogs.”

Gallery registration fees are $100 for adults and $50 for children 12 and younger. Spectators are welcome to bring coolers with no alcoholic beverages. Box lunches are included in the ticket price, and additional concessions will be available for purchase. Photos are permitted, but the gallery is asked to refrain from requesting autographs from the players. Shuttle service for gallery seats will be provided from Highlands Baptist Church.  To purchase tickets, call the Foundation office at 423-302-3131.

The list of expected celebrities this year is as follows:

Scott Niswonger – Chief benefactor of Niswonger Children’s Hospital

Jason Witten – Tight end for Dallas Cowboys

Peyton Manning – Quarterback for Denver Broncos

Dan Marino – Former quarterback for Miami Dolphins

Corey Pavin – PGA professional player

Loren Roberts – PGA professional player

Larry Mize – PGA professional player

Eric Schwarz – Corey Pavin’s caddy

Gerald Sensabaugh – Safety for Dallas Cowboys

Bill Bates – Former safety for Dallas Cowboys

Steve Johnson – Former tight end for Dallas Cowboys

Bobby Scott – Former quarterback for New Orleans Saints

Jimmy Gobble – Former relief pitcher for Colorado Rockies

Billy Wagner – Retired Major League Baseball relief pitcher

Benson Scott – Former holder for UT Vols

Phillip Fulmer – Former football coach for UT Vols

Bruce Pearl – Former head coach for University of Tennessee men’s basketball

Cuonzo Martin – Retired NBA player and current head coach for UT men’s basketball      

Bob Kesling – The Voice of the Vols               

Murry Bartow – Head coach for ETSU men’s basketball

Carroll Dale – Former wide receiver for Virginia Tech, Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers             

Frank Beamer – Head football coach for Virginia Tech

Skip Brown – Former Dobyns-Bennett and Wake Forest University basketball standout

Jimmy Fortune – Songwriter and former member of the Statler Brothers


SPECIAL NOTE TO MEDIA: Due to the addition of the gallery, we must provide a complete list of media representatives to security at the Blackthorn Club. Please RSVP with the names of reporters/photographers/videographers to attend before June 21. A press conference will be held prior to tee-off on June 25, with opportunity for interviews with guest celebrities. We will send additional information in a media invite the week of June 18. If you have questions, please call Teresa Hicks at 423-431-1313.

About Mountain States Health Alliance

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals including Norton Community Hospital, serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit


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