Camp Tontozona was an institution of the Arizona State football program from 1960-2008, providing the Sun Devils with a NFL-like training camp offsite for their upcoming season. But thanks to the efforts of head coach Todd Graham and Vice President for University Athletics/Athletics Director Steve Patterson, 'Camp T' is looking to be resurrected for practice and scrimmage beginning this fall.
Set in the serene landscape of Payson, Ariz., the camp borders the beuatiful Tonto National Forest, the ideal location to get your mind right before a grueling season. Coach Graham knows the importance of this camp to bring unity not only to the players and coaches, but the fans and alumni of the program as well:
"I love the tradition of college football," says Graham. "That is one of the reasons I coach at the collegiate level. Camp Tontozona is one of the famous icons in the history of college football. I want to take my first team there because the tradition begins at Tontozona, just like it did in 1960. Every player, every coach and many fans begin each season in the tall pines northeast of Payson. Coach Frank Kush had a vision. It worked well then and it will again. When I visited earlier this year I saw a lot of potential. But a lot of work needs to be completed in order to make it happen."
"Camp Tontozona unites Sun Devil football players from every generation and we want to return to that tradition," says Patterson. " We invite former football players, fans and anyone that believes in Camp T and what it stands for to participate by donating money or services. We need the Sun Devil Football family to unite behind this goal."
The campaign, appropriately titled "Return to Camp T," will need about $150,000 in order to make it happen, and is looking for fundraising to make it a reality. If the funds are met by June 1, Camp T will run from August 14-18, with a scrimmage set for the 18th. If the goal is not met, funds will be applied to a return to Camp Tontozona for the 2013 season.
Donors of $100 or more receive a "Return to Camp T" bumper sticker, and $250 or more will earn a "Return to Camp T" T-shirt. Donors of $500 or more will receive a T-shirt and are eligible to go on a turnaround trip to the scrimmage at Camp Tontozona. Any donations that exceed the $150,000 mark will be applied toward the Sun Devil Football program as a whole. All donations will go through the Sun Devil Club and are tax-deductible. Those who want to contribute can visit www.thesundevils.com or contact Kevin Miniefield of The Sun Devil Club at 480-727-6644 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a look back at the good old days at Camp T.
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