Tampa, FL – Moffitt Cancer Center honored Coach Don Shula in an award ceremony attended by nearly 400 people, including NFL Hall of Fame members, former senators and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. The Moffitt Board of Advisors’ Leadership & Philanthropy Award Dinner, which was held at The Ritz-Carlton in Miami’s South Beach on Wednesday, netted $250,000 for cancer research at Moffitt.
“Moffitt Cancer Center is very, very special to me,” Shula said. “My breast cancer foundation has donated a lot to Moffitt because we knew they would do the best with the money. What Moffitt is doing with cancer research is unbelievable. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of it…and honored to receive this award. Hopefully someday we’ll find a cure for cancer.”
The event was hosted by Moffitt Board of Advisors’ Chair Sam Donaldson, an ABC News veteran, who got the crowd roaring early in the evening with his high-energy delivery. Donaldson said Shula’s accomplishments as a leader were immeasurable.
“His dedication on and off the field has been an inspiration to many and has sparked Moffitt Cancer Center to bring together his family, friends and cancer warriors to say ‘thank you,’ ” he said.
Donaldson was joined by event co-chairs Bob Griese, the quarterback of that “perfect” 1972 Dolphins team, and his wife, Shay.
“Don has been a great mentor and a wonderful friend,” said Bob Griese, also a member of Moffitt’s Board of Advisors. “He has worked hard to find a cure for cancer through the Don Shula Foundation for breast cancer research, and many lives have been made better for it. We consider it an honor to present this award to him.”
Crist surprised guests when he entered the room with his wife, Carole. The governor congratulated Shula for his outstanding leadership.
“It’s a great event tonight for Don and Mary Anne Shula,” Crist said. “It’s important that we all pull together to fight this dreaded disease and eradicate it from the world, and Moffitt is the way to do it.”
Other notable guests were: Florida former Gov. Bob Graham; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; Senator Connie Mack; Pro Football Hall of Fame member Deacon Jones; and Bruce Allen, general manager of the Washington Redskins.
Guests bid competitively for items in the silent auction. Auctioneers were Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski, all of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” who stirred the crowd with opportunities to win a Westin Beach Resort Escape, courtesy of The Westin Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale; two Ladies Tiffany Grand ® watches, courtesy of an anonymous donor; a 10-11 day European Cruise, courtesy of Celebrity Cruises; golf and cocktails with Bob Griese at Jupiter Hills Golf Course, courtesy of Bob and Shay Griese; and a round of golf with Coach Shula at Indian Creek Golf Club in Miami followed by dinner at his home and two tickets to the Shula’s skybox for the Dolphin game of the top bidder’s choice.
The host committee included Bruce and Kiersten Allen; Ed and Marsha Droste; Jon Cindy Gruden; Dave “Lags” Lageschulte; H. Lee and Dianne Moffitt; Les and Pam Muma; Kristi Quarles; Dale “Champ” Regnier; Robert and Peggy Rothman; and Patrick and Sharon Sobers.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.