Meridian Star

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April 22, 2010

Nick Saban to speak in Meridian July 14

Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi tackle Bama coach

MERIDIAN —     Officials with the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi were excited at the announcement Wednesday Coach Nick Saban of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide would be the featured speaker in July at the Celebration of Excellence Dinner. But it was harder to try and determine who was more excited, Boys and Girls Club Director Rickie Hood or Clay Holladay, who is the president of the board for the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi.

    "I'm a huge Bama fan and I can tell you this is really exciting news to me," said Holladay with a broad grin. "So for me personally this is great. But more importantly this is a fantastic thing for the Boys and Girls Club."

    The Celebration of Excellence Dinner is the signature event and the largest fundraiser for the youth-serving organization, which provides after school and summer programs for more than 2,000 youths in East Mississippi. The event will be held July 14 at 6 p.m. at the Frank Cochran Center in Meridian's historic Highland Park. The dinner is to recognize area youth, staff and volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the club. A seated dinner will be provided and attendees will have the opportunity to win door prizes from area businesses.

    Saban has always been as elusive as an SEC caliber running back because he has been in high demand. But since he led Alabama to its 13th National Championship last season it has been nearly impossible to secure him for a speaking engagement. Hood said this process began two years ago.

    "His support for Boys and Girls Clubs is well known and we can give him a venue with the number of people to reach that is well in excess of five hundred people," Hood said. "We are excited we have one of the most sought after speakers in the country and he is doing this for free so all the proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club."

    For more information about the Celebration of Excellence Dinner, call (601) 482-2544.

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