PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – The Arians Family Foundation saw a big turn-out Sunday night at Innisbrook, with a strong contingent of Bucs players and coaches among those taking some time out of their offseason to support former Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, his wife Christine and a good cause.
“We preach family in our locker room and in that building,” said Bucs offensive tackle Donovan Smith. “What better way to show up and support your guys and coaches in something that they’re heavy into – that their heart speaks to and their mind speaks to and everything so [I’m] just here to show support. ”
“Any time he asks us to come out and support, it’s always a pleasure for us to come out and help him out with his organization and everything that he’s doing in the community,” Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis III said.
“I think it’s awesome,” Bucs offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “This is my first year here. Coming to this place, it’s incredible. It’s gorgeous. I’m really excited to be out here and have some fun with everybody. ”
In addition to Smith, Davis and Wirfs, other Bucs players that attended the red carpet event and gala dinner included wide receiver Mike Evans, defensive lineman Will Gholston and linebacker Grant Stuard. Bucs Head Coach Todd Bowles and several assistant coaches were also in attendance at Sunday evening’s event.
“I’ve been coming for the last 10 years or so, so this is not a new thing for me,” Bowles said. “I show up here all the time, whether it’s in Georgia or here in Florida or in Arizona. It’s a great cause with CASA that Chris (Arians) put together and they’ve been working on for years and I’m just glad to be a part of it. ”
Bruce Arians, who’s now assumed the role of Bucs Senior Advisor to the General Manager, greeted everyone with hugs and handshakes as they arrived and took pictures on the red carpet before dinner. Bruce and Christine both expressed how grateful they were for the support everyone has shown each year for their foundation.
“It is so heartwarming,” said Christine Arians. “The whole state of Florida has welcomed us – and I mean the foundation. Not even us personally. Everybody across the state of Florida has reached out. ”
“Every year I look forward to it,” said Bruce Arians. “My wife is the real hero in our family. Coaching football is a game. Watching her help these children for 25 years is very, very special to me. I always get a little bit emotional about it. ”
“It means everything,” Christine Arians said of the continued support of the community. “Yeah, we’re raising money but we’re raising awareness for volunteers that work for the foster kids who need a constant, stable adult voice to help them get their needs met.”
All proceeds from Sunday’s gala and Monday’s golf event benefit the Arians Family Foundation, which supports Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) programs in the Tampa area. Bruce and Christine Arians started their foundation in 2013.