Fundraising has long been a responsibility for college head coaches regardless of sport.

For quite some time all sports at FSU, except for football, have had a “Coaches Club,” which runs through Seminoles Boosters, Inc., and allows for boosters and fans to contribute money that is restricted to their favorite sports program.

The money raised by these clubs funds special projects over and above the expenses covered by the program’s annual operating budget.

FSU football will now have a Coaches Club called the Touchdown Club with money raised primarily to fund student-athlete development and career planning initiatives for FSU’s football athletes. Those initiatives will include guest speakers, career exploration and job shadowing field trips, financial literacy and more.

The newly formed club kicked off fundraising in June with the inaugural Touchdown Club Golf Classic hosted by Seminoles coach Willie Taggart and his staff at Golden Eagle Country Club in Tallahassee. The tournament was a collaborative effort between the football office and Seminole Boosters and led by volunteer tournament chairman Doug Russell with assistance from Woody Simmons.

“The Touchdown Club was Coach Taggart’s idea,” Russell said. “He approached the Boosters with an idea to have a golf tournament and we were so pleased to work together.”

Coincidentally, this came as the Boosters, Athletics and the University were completing our alignment. The golf tournament was symbolic of how our alignment should work.

In approximately 30 days, Boosters and Athletics, working together, launched the inaugural Touchdown Club format.”

The Touchdown Club Golf Classic was a success in year one and accomplished both of its goals.

“Coach Taggart’s mission was two-fold,” said Russell. “First, hold a tournament where fans and supporters can get up close to football, coaches, athletes and staff. Second, have an event that will help fund Coach Taggart’s Coaches Club. One hundred percent of the funds raised are restricted to football.

Coach believes in being available to our fans and supporters and he believes this Touchdown Club tournament will continue to grow and sell out.”

The first-year tournament was a huge success and sold out quickly.

“We sold the foursomes for $1,500 per team or $2,500 per team, if paired with a Seminole celebrity, and capped out with 22 teams,” Russell said.

Taggart is excited about the potential of the Touchdown Club and believes it will benefit the football program while establishing relationships with FSU supporters.

“There is so much passion for Florida State football,” Taggart said when asked about the Club and the event. “There are so many people who love and care about the program. I can’t tell you how many people I have been around who tell me about their love of FSU football and how much they care for it.”

Russell believes the tournament will help in developing relationships between the football program and its supporters and is also a great example of the team work between Boosters and Athletics.

“Coach Taggart wants to be accessible and available to our fans and supporters,” said Russell. “Again, this Touchdown Club tournament will be our best opportunity to get close and stay close to FSU football. The inaugural event was so much fun and a complete success. It will always be easier to reach our goals when all – Boosters, Athletics and the University – are simultaneously pulling in the same direction.”

In addition to raising money through the golf tournament, the Touchdown Club will launch a fundraising campaign with donor levels ranging from 2-Star members ($1,000) to 5-Star members ($25,000) and benefi ts including newsletters, team-issued apparel and invitations to special events including events like the golf tournament. A special category called the Starting Eleven ($50,000) includes a long list of benefits including a sponsored foursome in the tournament.

The Touchdown Club gives former athletes a way to give back to football, Taggart believes, and specifically to areas like student development and career planning, which they care deeply about.

The tournament format allowed former athletes and Boosters to spend time with each of the current coaches.

“We put a member of the coaching sta. at every hole so the attendees could interact and meet every member of the coaching staff,” said Kristin Tubeck, who runs special events for Seminole Boosters. She and Kari Terezakis, who manages stewardship for the Boosters, worked with members of the football office, including Julie Reed, who is assistant director of football operations, Director of Player Development Trae Hackett and Assistant Athletic Director for Football Sharrod Everett.

While the Touchdown Club will host the tournament annually, they are looking for the ideal date to do it.

“We would like to incorporate as many former Seminoles as possible, many of whom are still in the NFL,” said Tubeck. “So we are looking at schedules right now to try and come up with the best time for next year’s tournament.”

Coach Taggart is excited about the success of the tournament and the future for the Touchdown Club and the funding it will provide for the career development for his players.

“To put this tournament together in a short amount of time and to get the turnout we did, to me, says a lot about what this tournament can be and should be,” Taggart said. “And, again, with all the passion people have for Florida State football we expect it will get even better.”

For more information, or to join the Touchdown Club, please visit: FSUCoachesClubs.com or call 850.644.3484 or text TOUCHDOWN to 850.644.1830.