FREMONT – Raiders coaches were in the middle of a must-win bocce match Tuesday afternoon. The stakes weren’t high as usual in their line of work, but they called in a ringer nonetheless.
Khalil Mack pinch-hit and rolled a productive ball. Head coach Jack Del Rio, offensive line coach Mike Tice, assistant head coach-defense John Pagano, offensive coordinator Todd Downing and linebackers coach Sal Sunseri took the victory there, but ultimately fell out of the running in the Del Rio Foundation’s inaugural bocce ball tournament at Campo di Bocce of Fremont.
Not that it really mattered.
This was a charity event designed to raise money for Hayward high schools, local Catholic Youth Organization athletics, the Special Olympics of Northern California and the Alameda County Sherriff Athletic League.
“A lot of it is targeted here locally, and that was an important thing we talked about,” said Del Rio, a three-sport star at Hayward High. “We wanted to raise the money here locally, and we wanted to give back here locally.”
It raised a ton. The tournament sold out of teams – it was heavy four figures to compete – had corporate sponsorship and featured a live auction highlighted by someone bidding $10,000 to have dinner with Jack and Linda Del Rio.
The event was similar to Steve Mariucci and John Madden’s charity bocce tournament each in Livermore, but this one was definitely Raiders centric. Mack and Derek Carr made appearances. So did Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph and most of the Raiders rookie class. Madden was there a while. Mariucci and celebrity chef Guy Fieri were on a team to beat.
“It’s really great to be able to do this,” Del Rio said. “Our (foundation) logo’s all about the heart and the football, and it’s all about giving from the heart. Football’s been good to us, and my wife and I wanted to give back in a way that specifically impacts this community.”