WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

Youth Football Founder Leaves Local Legacy

By: Evanne Armour Email
By: Evanne Armour Email

April 5, 2013

Dozens of people filled the bleachers at Albemarle High School's football stadium Sunday to honor a man who left his heart on the field.

Gene Ware, founder of Central Virginia's Pop Warner football league, passed away Wednesday after ongoing effects of a stroke.

"Gene was a great man. I didn't know anyone who had as much passion for football as he did," said Lee Parkhill, who played in the league for four years. "The program really changed my life."

Since it was founded in 2005, thousands of 8-to-13 year olds have participated in the program. Ware was always looking for his next recruit.

"A 9-year-old kid would walk in and he'd stop the parents, 'Hey you think about playing football?' That's the type of guy he was. He just really loved this," said Gary Parkhill, the organization's past president.

Friends and family say it was Ware's mission to share his love of the game with kids in the community.

"That was his dream, that was his passion, that's what he wanted to do," said son Brandon Ware. "Nothing stood in his way."

The memorial service may have served as a way to remember the man who started it all, but members of the league are determined to continue the tradition for years to come.

"It's something that's going to be life-long that we'll continue to carry on, not just for Gene and his family, but for the young people he's impacted in Pop Warner," said Tony Payne, a coach and a member of the board of directors.

Pop Warner is a national program that provides youth football and cheerleading/dance programs with a focus on athletics and academics. Leagues span 42 states and several countries.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we ask that you follow our rules for commenting. E-mail is required to comment on a story, but it will not be displayed with your comment. For complete rules, CLICK HERE. The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 206225841 - newsplex.com/a?a=206225841