New NFL and NCAA Schools Join The Lineup For Second Annual Coach Knapp Stair Climb Initiative
The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund enter its second rendition as its been two years since the tragic passing of the former NFL assistant coach in July of 2021 after a distracted driver struck and killed Greg while he was bicycling. Knapp had just been named Passing Game Coordinator of the New York Jets under Head Coach Robert Saleh. The ‘Quarterback Whisperer’ would probably have been another 2023 HBO Hard Knocks training camp star with the addition of future Hall of Famer QB Aaron Rogers to the roster to the delight of millions of fans and viewers alike. Today, The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund announced the additions of NFL and NCAA teams participating in this fall’s “Knapp Stair Climb.” The Sports Techie community blog shared information about the programs launch last year when the initial project was a part of “My Cause, My Cleats” collecting the commitment of seven NFL teams and nearly 200 coaches, players and staff participating in a variety of ways on game days resulting in surpassing the modest goal of raising $100,000. I shared last year how Greg, then the quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers, sent me a hand written note to say GM Bill Walsh and his coaching staff were not going to purchase site licenses of the Gridiron 2000 (GI 2000), expert game planning system that ran on Windows 95 from me at a time when the NFL was dominated by Macintosh, not Microsoft as it is now. To honor Coach Knapp, NFL and NCAA coaches, players, executives and alumni will once again participate in raising funds and awareness for the dangers of distracted driving at each NFL or NCAA stadium prior to team warm ups. Coach Knapp was ahead of the game and a fellow NFL sports tech advocate.
“It’s been very special to see so many people sign up for the Stair Climb to raise awareness for the dangers of distracted driving and to honor Greg’s legacy. We are so grateful for the groundswell of support from across the NFL and at the college level,” said Charlotte Knapp, co-founder of Knapp Memorial and Greg Knapp’s widow.
THE COACH KNAPP MEMORIAL FUND HISTORY AND FUTURE
The Coach Knapp Fund was created by his wife Charlotte and close friend and agent, Jeff Sperbeck, to honor the legacy of Greg Knapp after his preventable death while cycling. The fund exists to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving to reduce the number of distracted driving related crashes and deaths. Coach Knapp was known for climbing the stadium stairs before every single NFL game he coached over his 25 season career, a feat Coach Saleh is also famous for.
All will be tagged #knappstairclimb on social platforms.
Greg also served as an assistant coach for over a quarter of a century with the local Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks (Go Hawks) and 49ers. Known to many as a “quarterback whisperer,” Greg coached some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history helping chart the careers of many young athletes with kindness, humor and trust.
This year’s initiative will start even earlier in the season, with Head Coach Matt LaFleur leading the Green Bay Packers in taking to the steps of storied Lambeau Field on Sunday, September 24th.
In addition to the Packers, the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans, plus a growing number of NCAA colleges and universities from Division I to Division III have signed on to participate this fall. The initial NCAA list includes the football programs at Sacramento State, Stanford University, Fordham University, The University of Michigan, Caldwell University and Ripon College, with more schools joining on each week.
The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund designated their first grant to SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), which funded TextLess Live More events in high schools across the country. TextLess Live More utilizes evidence-informed strategies to reduce technology’s prevalence in young people’s lives – especially behind the wheel, reducing distracted driving rates and deaths.
This year, teams will be able to choose which middle and high schools they want these events to take place to create a local impact in their communities.
“Coach Knapp was a mentor and friend. I can only hope that the impact he made on me as a player, I can pay it forward to my athletes, added Bobby Fresques, Sac State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach and loyal friend. “Through his foundation, his legacy will continue to have a profound effect on Sac State Football.”
Fans, athletes, and coaches or anyone interested can also participate wherever is most convenient to them across the country, such as apartment building stairs or a high school sports stadium. Images will be shared on various social channels.
Details on how to get involved individually can be found at https://www.knappmemorial.org/stairclimb. All proceeds will benefit The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund.
Additional participants at other teams will be announced in the coming weeks.
Sports Techie, the expanded program includes support from the Packers, Stanford and other like-minded organizations with another modest goal to eclipse the year one fund raising tally of over $100,000 donated in the good name of The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund and its cause to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
Time indeed flies for those close to Knapp like his wife, daughter, Jordan, and two stepdaughters, Natalie and Camille, and also for those that have lost a loved one like myself when my dear Dad passed away just six months ago. My Pops knew the Greg Knapp story I shared that happened back in 1995 and now you do too. His kindness was part of his legacy as was his passion for stair climbing and love of the game.
Please get out there and climb some stairs, a hill or mountain, donate to The Coach Knapp Memorial Fund, and share the experience at hashtag #knappstairclimb.
RIP to Greg, Dan Roble (my father) and those close to you.
Be smart, sensible and responsible, and don’t drive distracted.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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