Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Wyche comes back to help the homeless


By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ben-Gals Karyn Priest and Heather Head (see Zoom view) helped bring "cheer" to a party held by Welcome Home Outreach Friday evening. Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche was the guest of honor.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
Sam Wyche was emphatic: "It's not about me. It's about the homeless. That's why I'm here."

"Here" was the Airport Marriott, where Wyche spoke at the fourth annual Welcome Home Outreach Coming to Dinner gala, a speakers' series and dinner gala that has raised more than $200,000 for Welcome House. The Northern Kentucky facility serves homeless and at-risk families.

About 200 guests showed for the party that opened with a cocktail reception. And yeah, they all saw stars, thanks to a zillion flashes popping - everyone wanted a picture with Sam, Bengals coach from 1984-91.

Wyche, now living on a farm in Pickens, S.C., and battling a heart disease called cardiomyopathy, isn't sitting around. He's a volunteer high school coach and substitute teacher who has taught everything from economics to jazz ensemble. ("That was the best. I just sat there and let them play for me. It was like a free concert.")

He also does volunteer work on homeless issues. Which is what brought him to the Marriott.

"I know I'm preaching to the choir here because this group already supports the homeless. I'm just interested in giving them a pat on the back for walking that extra mile," he said at the reception.

His talk was partly about the homeless, partly about the wacko life of an NFL coach. "I hope to make them laugh," he said.

Next year's dinner speaker already has been booked: NASCAR superstar Darrell Waltrip.


E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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