When a VIP reception is buzzing with sports celebs and among them is Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith, one question hangs in the air. Who will the Texans pick No. 1 in next week's NFL Draft?
Anyone who thought that Smith would share the ultimate inside information was disappointed, as he kept his lips sealed throughout Thursday's reception and charity luncheon at Houston Country Club.
Smith and his wife, Tiffany, chaired the fundraiser for Pro-Vision charter school while J.J. Watt and his mother, Connie Watt, were featured guests. When asked by interviewer Marc Vandermeer, Voice of the Houston Texans, what his choice would be for the draft, Watt responded, "I don't care who it is or where he's from . . . as long as he's willing to work and willing to learn."
That sentiment was widely applauded by the sell-out crowd that included new Texans coach Bill O'Brien (lips also sealed), Craig Biggio, Mario Elie, Jeff Van Gundy, Brian Ching, Cody Carlson, Clyde Drexler and Chester Pitts. The heavy-hitter turnout prompted Vandermeer to ask the packed house, "Is there anyone in the room who isn't a professional athlete or a CEO?"
"It's personal for me. I love this school. I'm very involved" —Tiffany Smith
This first annual Cornerstone Luncheon benefiting the remarkable charter school on Sunnyside was themed "Nurturing Our Future, A Mother's Day Celebration." Vandermeer interviewed J.J. and Connie.
How did she feel about the draft when her son was the 11th overall pick? Connie replied, "It was just important to me that he find a place that he could call home and he certainly did."
They also talked about the J.J. Watt Foundation, which supports after-school athletic programs for middle school students, and how its mission segues into that of Pro-Vision. Rick Smith is on the Pro-Vision board as in Van Gundy. "I've seen how sports can change your life . . . It gives these kids something to look forward to after school," Watt said.
As for her participation in the luncheon, Tiffany Smith said, "It's personal for me. I love this school. I'm very involved."
Among those applauding the school's mission and its founder Roynell Young were board chairman Alan Hassenflu, board members Willie Alexander and Enos Cabell, plus Rusty Hardin, Betsy Phillips, Martha Ann and Byron Snyder, Cheryl and Percy Creuzot, Mary and Felix Castro, Yava Scott, Valerie and Sam Golden, Carolyn Alexander and Ruby Cabell.