Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Makes Donation

Wally Pontiff Sr. (left) and Gary Burke (right) present a $31,000 check to coach Paul Mainieri (center).
Wally Pontiff Sr. (left) and Gary Burke (right) present a $31,000 check to coach Paul Mainieri (center).
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BATON ROUGE -- The Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation donated $31,000 Thursday to the LSU baseball program, as Wally Pontiff Sr., father of former Tiger infielder Wally Pontiff Jr., presented a check to LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in the athletics administration building.

The Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation was established in memory of the all-SEC third baseman who died in 2002 at age 21 due to heart abnormalities.

"Wally always believed in giving back to his school and to his community, and we continue to honor his memory with donations like this one,” Pontiff Sr. said.  “We keep the spirit of No. 31 (Wally’s jersey number at LSU) alive with our foundation which helps so many worthy organizations.”

“We are extremely grateful for this very generous gift from Wally’s foundation,” Mainieri said. “I know Wally Jr. was a young man of exemplary character, and I hope our players will follow his example and represent LSU the way he did with great class and dignity. It is an honor for LSU Baseball to be included as a beneficiary of Wally’s foundation.”

The Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation has benefited several charitable organizations, including the New Orleans Strive Center, a nonprofit organization in which men and women who suffer from mental retardation are given opportunities to earn income and reach their potential as members of the community.

Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation funds have also assisted Camp Summer Tribe in Mandeville, La., a seven-day residential camp designed to provide children with cerebral palsy and other similar conditions a traditional summer-camp experience.

Other beneficiaries of the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation include the Jefferson Parish Recreation Department; Angel’s Place, an organization that helps terminally ill children and their families; and Season’s Grief Center, a facility that provides counseling for children and adults who have lost a loved one.

One of the primary fund-raising vehicles for the foundation is the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Baseball Classic, a college game played at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La. The 2007 game is set for April 18 and matches LSU against the University of New Orleans.

“We are certainly looking forward to that game,” Mainieri said, “because of what it means to so many people.”

For more information about the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation, visit www.wallypontiffjr.org.

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