Former Football Greats Giving Back
Former Football Greats Giving Back
By: Megan Wilson, Sports Information Student Assistant
During their time at Kansas State, Terence Newman and Kevin Lockett were well-known for their prowess on the football field. While their athletic talents helped them set records and carried them to successful careers in the NFL, there is more to Lockett and Newman than appears in the record book. While in uniform for the Wildcats and since beginning their professional careers, both have been actively involved in their communities.
“It’s a really great example for our younger players,” said athletic director Bob Krause. “It’s a really proud moment to see two young players come out of the program and establish their own foundations.”
After being drafted in 1997 by the Kansas City Chiefs, Lockett established the Lockett-Up Foundation to provide academic support for at-risk students in his hometown of Tulsa, Okla. Newman, drafted in 2002 by the Dallas Cowboys, has also been active in his community. In November 2007, he founded Terence Newman’s Rising Stars Foundation to benefit and support promising young student-athletes in the Dallas Independent School District.
Lockett, K-State’s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, founded his Lockett-Up Foundation after being a professional for only a few months. One program initiated by the foundation was the Read and Achieve Program. Since its inception in 1998, the foundation has initiated multiple Read and Achieve programs, including those in Manhattan and Kansas City. While the specific goals of the program vary with each city, the overall goal remains the same to give students reading time, individual attention, support, and guidance to enable them to read at or above grade level. The Read and Achieve Program is a reflection of Lockett’s belief in the value of literacy.
“I know from conversations with Kevin that he agreed with the thoughts of Jim Colbert (K-State alumnus, PGA golfer and co-designer of Colbert Hills),” Krause said. “Colbert once said, quite simply, stop whatever you’re doing and think about what gives you the confidence to be in this room right now.’ And at the core of that was literacy and reading. Without literacy, it’s pretty tough to gain that confidence and to dream your dreams and be successful and I know that has been a passion of Kevin’s.”
Newman’s Rising Star’s Foundation is in its second year of existence. Each year, Newman intends to add 10 new ninth-grade football players into the program. Once a player is selected as a Rising Star, the selected students take part in numerous activities and are eligible to receive academic support through the program’s relationship with the NFL’s Play it Smart program. They also take part in regular mentoring and special events with Newman himself, including outings at Cowboys’ games and community service activities. If students maintain the program’s standards of character and grade point average throughout their high school years, Newman will award each of them a minimum of $5,000 in college scholarships upon graduation.
“He (Newman) knows from his own background that it is important to work with young people who haven’t been as fortunate as others, for whatever reason, whether it’s being mostly on their own to being a case where they don’t have resources compared with other students at school, or whatever," Krause said. "He has a desire to help those kids that have the promise and that demonstrate they can excel. He wants to help them out and get involved in Dallas.”
The work that Lockett and Newman have done in their communities is not only a reflection of their personal values, but also a reflection of the values of the athletic programs they have been involved with in the past.
“With both Kevin and Terence, you’ve got two young men that want to give back to their communities, which I think is great,” Krause said. “It really speaks to the values of the program they came through and those are the same values we have today. It’s not only achievement on the field, but taking those values you’ve learned from football and being willing to give back to the community.”
Those values were embedded during Lockett and Newman’s careers at K-State and are currently reflected by community service of current K-State student-athletes.
“I think we have a responsibility in teaching our young student-athletes to take part in service,” Krause said. “It is teaching our student-athletes, many of whom have been blessed with tremendous talent and opportunities (for success), that they didn’t get here alone. The program really encourages giving them opportunities (for community service). I know all of the head coaches really support it very much and encourage our student-athletes to take part in community service. I’d even go as far as saying it is one of our recruiting edges, having a sense of community, a sense of giving back.”
Newman and Lockett’s foundations both reflect their belief in the importance of continuing education by providing support for students in need. “To have superstar athletes, like both of these gentlemen, young people look up to them they might initially look up to them because of their athletic ability but to have them say it is important for you to get your education, to say that’s something nobody can ever take away from you, and their willingness to give back is just a great statement,” Krause said.
To provide support for the students helped by their foundations, Lockett and Newman participate in fundraising activities. To raise money for his Lockett-Up Foundation, Lockett hosts the annual Kevin Lockett Celebrity Golf Invitational to benefit the Kansas City Read & Achieve programs. This year’s tournament will be held Oct. 21. On Oct. 6, Newman will host his first fundraising event, A Night of Stars and Steaks, to support his Rising Stars Foundation. Both are willing to give their time in order to give back to their communities.
“This is such a great example for our other players and our fans,” Krause said. “It sets an example for people who overlook the learning part, particularly in high profile sports such as football. There is so much negative press out there about youngsters that come through programs that aren’t academically successful. To see the commitment that is embodied in these two guys and the people they gather around them they go out and they touch lives and they make a difference.”
For more information on Lockett’s foundation, visit www.lockettup.org, while additional details on Newman’s can be found at www.terencenewman41.com.