GVSU to honor Jamie Hosford at fundraiser

GVL / Archive

GVL / Archive

Jay Bushen

The Grand Valley State University football team will cap off its spring practice schedule with the 2014 Spring Football Classic, an event in the Kelly Family Sports Center at noon on April 12.

The event, which will air live on ESPN 96.1 with interviews from coaches and players, will be in honor of former Laker great Jamie Hosford. All proceeds will be donated to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

GVSU Associate AD for Marketing, Doug Lipinski, said moving the event inside will allow more fans to get involved without having to worry about weather conditions.

“We had contacted the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and we wanted to tie the spring game into a nonprofit and make this a community event,” Lipinski said.

Admission is $5. Those in attendance will receive a free t-shirt.

The entire GVSU football team will wear a commemorative practice jersey with the number 32 printed on it to honor Hosford, who recently passed away at 58 after a battle with cancer.

“It’s going to be a special day in a lot of different aspects, a way for Grand Valley football to give back,” head coach Matt Mitchell said.

Hosford, a five-sport athlete from 1973-1976, had one of the most storied careers in the history of GVSU Athletics. He earned 12 varsity letters: four in football, four in wrestling, two in baseball, one in golf, and one in track.

His impact on the Laker program was felt long after he graduated.

“Our football alumni association might be one of the stronger ones in Division II,” Mitchell said. “What they do for us financially is tremendous – and he spearheaded that organization.

“He was the architect for a lot of that. What he’s done for our football program since he graduated has been unparalleled in the sport.”

The commemorative jerseys can be purchased for $25. Both the proceeds and the jerseys will be donated to the hospital. The football team will be delivering the jerseys.

Fans can either make the donation at the event or by calling 331-3200.

Hosford was a two-time all-American whose 3,157 career rushing yards were the most in school history from 1976-2002. He set seven individual records during his career.

The former fullback rushed for more than 100 yards 14 times in his career, the third most in school history. He also ran for 212 yards against Saginaw Valley State University in 1976, which still ranks ninth on the GVSU single-game rushing list.

“After talking to his family we decided it’s a great way to honor Jamie and a great opportunity to raise money for the kids while honoring one of the great Lakers,” Lipinski said.

There will be giveaways at the event courtesy of Countryside Greenhouse of Allendale, the presenting sponsor. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

GVSU finished its 2013 campaign as the No. 3 team in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll. The team is now the winningest in the history of college football with an 874-305-42 all-time record (.7330057) after moving past the University of Michigan.