Jim McElwain, the new head football coach at the University of Florida, will be the featured speaker on Wednesday, May 27, during the 21st annual L’Arche Football Preview. The event will take place at the Mitchell Center at the University of South Alabama (USA).

McElwain is returning to the Southeastern Conference after coaching the last three seasons at Colorado State. Prior to then, he was Alabama’s offensive coordinator during the Crimson Tide’s national championship runs in 2010 and 2011.

“Having spoken at the L’Arche dinner in the past, I know what wonderful work they do in Mobile,” said McElwain. “I’m looking forward to being there and representing the University of Florida for this worthwhile cause.”

Jim McElwain during spring training at the University of Florida.

Jim McElwain during spring training at the University of Florida.


The event benefits L’Arche Mobile, a Christian community that shares life with people with intellectual disabilities in a permanent family-like environment. L’Arche Mobile relies on donations and fundraisers — such as the football dinner — to support its activities.

McElwain is just one of the speakers scheduled for the dinner, which is co-sponsored by Reese’s Senior Bowl and Dex Imaging. Along with USA head coach Joey Jones, also on the program is Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Alabama assistant head coach Mel Tucker, Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, SEC Network analyst Tony Barnhart, Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, SiriusXM College Sports Nation host Taylor Zarzour and WNSP program director Randy Kennedy. Hackbarth Delivery Service and Aviation Services are the presenting sponsors.

“L’Arche is excited about this year’s lineup of guest speakers,” said Marty O’Malley, the group’s director. “We appreciate the coaches and media taking the time to share their insights into college football.”

In addition to the speakers, several area coaches will be recognized for their contributions. Davidson coach Fred Riley will receive the Lefty Anderson Service Through Coaching Award, while former Murphy coach Larry Henderson will get the L’Arche Mobile Lifetime Achievement Award. The Chuck Maxime Memorial Award will go to former Blount coach Rayford Parker, who recently passed away.

The doors open to the general public at 6 p.m. In addition to the dinner, a silent auction is planned. Tickets are $50, with sponsorships available at $1,000 to $5,000. For more information, contact O’Malley at 251-438-2094 or at larchmobdev@hotmail.com.

Racing clears an obstacle in Saraland
The global leader in the sport of obstacle racing has announced that its inaugural event in Alabama will take place in Mobile County. The Saraland Super is set for Oct. 17.

Reebok Spartan Race is working with the Mobile Sports Authority and Saraland city officials to organize the contest. The course will be laid over varying landscapes that will take competitors through swampy bogs, open fields and heavily wooded forests. They will crawl, climb and run through obstacles to complete the course.

“As our first-ever race in the great state of Alabama, the Saraland Super offers various terrains that will challenge our athletes and push them to new limits to find out what they’re really capable of,” said Joe DeSena, the founder and CEO of Reebok Spartan Race. His group will conduct more than 50 races in the United States this year and an additional 83 in 20 other countries.

Spartan Race offers three primary formats: Sprint (3-plus miles, 20-plus obstacles), Super (8-plus miles, 24-plus obstacles) and Beast (13-plus miles, 30-plus obstacles). There will be three heats during the race for an elite group, a morning group and an afternoon group.

“With the tremendous growth and popularity we’ve seen over the years with obstacle-course competitions around the world, we wanted to be the first one in Alabama to host what is considered to be the world’s top-rated and most prestigious obstacle course series, the Spartan Race,” said Danny Corte, executive director of the Mobile Sports Authority.

Registration for the Saraland Super is currently open at www.Spartan.com. Racers can pre-register now for race information and special offers. To view video of previous events, visit wdrv.it/1E0MtcS.

“We look forward to showing the visiting Spartan competitors, their families and friends, as well as the Spartan officials themselves, some of our famous Saraland southern hospitality,” said Saraland Mayor Howard Rubenstein.

Heart screening set for youth athletes
Teenagers in Mobile and Baldwin counties can register for the Heart For Athletes’ heart screening to be held Saturday, June 6, at the Baldwin Bone & Joint office in Daphne.

A heart screening may reveal an undetected heart abnormality that could put a teen at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The story of Sam Cockrell has been featured previously in Lagniappe. A successful triathlete, he collapsed while swimming and was saved by a physician who recognized the symptoms. After several surgeries, Sam is back in school at USA.

His mother Amy has made it her mission to get other young athletes tested. Last year, her group screened 342 high school students and found two major heart abnormalities that could have potentially led to cardiac arrest. Their goal is to screen between 300 to 400 athletes between the ages of 13 to 18.

During the Heart for Athletes screening, each participant will provide their medical history, have a blood pressure check and an electrocardiogram, and be evaluated by a physician. An echocardiogram will also be offered at the direction of the evaluating physician.

The typical screening takes approximately 30 minutes. For more information, call 251-510-7263, visit www.heartforathletes.org or send an email to amy@heartforathletes.org.