BY JAMES HARPER
For the seventh year in a row, Daytona Beach native and retired Detroit Lions player Bruce McNorton has conducted a free football clinic at Derbyshire Park for local boys and girls.
McNorton, a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a 1977 Spruce Creek High School graduate.
“I do this because athletics was very important to me when I was growing up. My friends and I say we wish we would have had something like this when we were growing up. There are a lot of kids that have been here every year. They seem to be looking forward to it every year,” McNorton told the Daytona Times this week.
“As long as God keeps blessing me, I will continue to do this totally free clinic. Some want to extend it (to more than two days). That could happen because there is no charge. Most of the coaches have jobs and other responsibilities. It’s hard to ask them to come out for more days without any compensation. The clinic is non-profit so it is run on in-kind donations and blessings. I thank God for blessing me to bless others,” he added.
Always planned to give back
Charles Bethune, a co-founder of the clinic, said he and McNorton first met when they played Pop Warner football together when they were six years old. He doesn’t recall anyone doing a similar camp while they were growing up.
“We always said if – when – either one of us made it, we would always go back to the community and give back,” said Bethune, who is currently a coach at Basicila of St. Paul and a part-time employee in Daytona Beach’s Leisure Services Department.
Other city employees involved the camp included Vincent Terry, Terry Johnson and Joe Chirillo, also with the city’s Leisure Services Department.
Bethune said he first started working with McNorton doing camps in Detroit when he played with the team from 1982 to 1992.
Retired NFL players help
McNorton recruits some of his NFL friends to help with the camp, including retired players James Jones, James Harrell and James Cribbs, all who played for Detroit. Clarence Siler, a former player for the San Francisco 49ers, also helped out.
Former Bethune-Cookman Wildcat players Marvin and Kenny Scott also helped to make a difference in the kids’ lives.
McNorton also credits Kim Moten, co-owner of Fifi Salon, for the help she provides for the clinic every year.
Bethune said the purpose of the clinic is to increase endurance and stamina in the youngsters.
“They learn sportsmanship, character, team-building skills and comradery,” he noted.
The clinic’s sponsors included Ritchey Cadillac, Daytona Mitsubishi/KIA, Southeast Automotive management, Homewood Suites/Hilton, 2nd 2 None Bail Bonds, Full Circle Nutrition, Training Initiative, Daytona Beach Bucks/Cheer, The Steeler Store, and Doctors Group, Real Property Management, W’s Beatitudes Barber Shop, Safari Lounge and Cubco Screen Printing.