Photos from Stan Brock's Black & Gold Classic's The Legends Concert in Lafreniere Park in Metairie on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
The last coaching job for Stan Brock – his last "real" job, he said – paved the road for his current passion. It's an endeavor that he approaches with seemingly the same ferocity that the former offensive lineman, a tackle for the New Orleans Saints from 1980-92 and for the San Diego Chargers from 1993-95, took to the field in the NFL.
And it's a task – giving to the Green Beret Foundation and the Navy Seals Foundation, via the Black and Gold Classic, a fishing rodeo and shooting event – in which he finds just as much pride as he did as a player.
"I was the head coach (from 2007-08) at the United States Military Academy, Army football," Brock said. "And some of my players – prior to that, I was the offensive line coach (from 2004-06) – and some of my offensive linemen, they all went off to war but some of them became Special Forces. And one in particular became a Green Beret; in fact, he was the first 300-pound plus man Special Forces in the Army and he's a Green Beret.
"And while he was over in Afghanistan, Iraq, he got his legs blown up – missing one leg and the other one is not in great shape, but it's better than missing.
"I went and saw him at Walter Reed (National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.) and just knew that I was going to do something to help him out. So the reason that I give to the Green Beret Foundation and the Navy Seals Foundation is I truly believe that if it wasn't for all of our armed services, that we wouldn't be able to have these kinds of events.
"So I'm big into that. These are two foundations that I truly believe in. I did some homework and background work to figure out how much money these foundations actually give back to the families and to the returning veterans, and they have a very low operating costs so that's one of the reasons that I chose them."
It's the reason that this will be the fifth Black and Gold Classic, to be conducted in Grand Isle on Thursday through Saturday. The fishing rodeo and shooting event is highlighted by the attendance of several former Saints players, including Brock, Steve Baumgartner, Joel Hilgenberg, Rich Mauti, Jon Stinchcomb and Derland Moore. Also attending will be NFL Hall of Famers Curley Culp and Elvin Bethea.
Friday night is sponsors-only event, with a private concert and a dinner prepared by chef Greg Reggio.
"Saturday is our big day," Brock said. "It's a fishing rodeo for the public, $25 to fish and if people don't want to fish, they can come over and for $25 they can shoot Benelli shotguns on a sporting clays course. We'll have our weigh-in at 2 p.m. at Bridge Side Marina, and then we start a concert at 6 and we have Category 6 come in and play for us (an outdoor concert). We're going to raffle off a boat that was donated by Gator Tracks and it's a $23,000 boat, we're selling $100 tickets for it and we're going to raffle it off that night at the concert."
The event has allowed Brock to make substantial donations.
"Two years ago we donated $50,000 to each of the Green Beret and the Navy Seals," he said. "But one of the hard parts about starting these things is that you donate all the money, then every year becomes a start-up. So we've been trying to put a little bit of money away so that every year we're not starting over.
"We just keep working and my goal is to be their No. 1 donator, which would put me into the millions. That'll come, just gotta keep working on it."
As for the attendees, Brock said he couldn't have picked a better group, for a couple of reasons.
"I tell you what's really cool about the group, and I've done events before where you get some prima donnas and it doesn't take very many of them to ruin it," he said. "The group that I have invited have basically all been hand-picked and chosen.
"These are a group of guys that if we had to, we could throw air mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor and everyone would be happy. All of these guys that come down here, they all pay their own way down. Everyone pays to get here and once they get here, we kind of take care of them. They believe in it as well."
With Brock as the pitch man, it's easy to understand why they all believe.