River Valley Local Pumps Money Back Into Hometown Roots

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Gus Malzahn is the big winner of this year’s Liberty Mutual National Coach of The Year Award. He’s been awarded $70,000. $20,000 is going to the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club.

“Very excited, humbled and honored that Gus Malzahn would select the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club,” club director Jerry Glidewell said.

Malzahn is not only known for the mind-boggling play that lead the Auburn Tigers to play in a national championship game, but attended Ramsey Junior High and Fort Smith Christian. He’s been a part of the Boys & Girls Club for decades.

"As a teen he worked part time at the club,” said Glidewell. “He was a volunteer coach for soccer, basketball, baseball. Football really drew his love for coaching.”

Glidewell  said he remembers Malzahn at the club like it was yesterday. Some of Malzahn's coaches still work at the club to this day.

“With Gus in the national spotlight I think it`s great for not only for the Boys & Girls Club but the entire Fort Smith community,” Glidewell said.

Members of the club said they are excited for the big donation and they have several things in mind that they would like to be added.

“I would like a swimming pool here,” Addie Browning said.

“A bigger basketball court,” Coen Browning said.

With the big donation on its way Glidewell said even bigger plans are developing.

“We have four clubs in town. We serve over 3,300 kids, the money will be well used for sure.”

A Level Up, in Springdale which promotes building life skills will receive a portion of the funding as well.