Rich Salgado put his hand up to a group of photographers. He was surrounded by a motley crew featuring Giants Super Bowl champion tight end Howard Cross; IBF-WBA-IBA light-heavyweight champion 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins, NFL defensive back twins Devin and Jason McCourty and former Jets and Browns coach Eric Mangini.
Salgado felt the picture lacked Hall of Fame Jets running back Curtis Martin, who was chatting with reporters on the red carpet. Salgado stalled the photographers until Martin joined the group.
Such a group could only be put together by the man even his close friends call "Big Daddy." Such an act of unselfishness is common to Big Daddy.
Salgado is the President of Coastal Advisors, LLC, an insurance consulting firm that specializes in high net worth individuals, notably collegiate and professional athletes.
On Sunday and Monday, Salgado hosted the third annual "Big Daddy Golf Classic" at The Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. The 2014 event supported primary beneficiaries The Health & Human Aid Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The expected attendees list included Michael Strahan, Jason Kidd, Mike Tyson, Eric LeGrand and others.
In its three years of existence, the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic fits its founder's title. It is big. Really big.
"I didn't think it'd get this big, but I knew it would get somewhere," Salgado chuckles at the pun.
Salgado grew up just a few miles from Oheka Castle in New Hyde Park, N.Y. At 6-5 with a healthy dose of muscle, Salgado earned a football scholarship at Maryland in the 1980s. An offensive lineman, Salgado roomed with quarterback Neil O'Donnell in College Park. While Salgado did not pursue a professional career, he followed O'Donnell to Pittsburgh. Aside from fraternizing with the pro bowl quarterback, Salgado built his network.
After studying under a series of prominent sports agents, Salgado bridged his education to a unique idea: creating a private insurance company for athletes and high-profile individuals.
"We make sure they're protected both on and off the field, Salgado told ThePostGame in February 2013. "If they, God forbid, get hurt or there's an untimely death, we make sure their family's all taken care of and there's an insurance package."
Salgado's influence is evident from the diverse crowd at his golf outing. On the red carpet from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Salgado could barely move without celebrities asking to pose for pictures with him. He took a picture with Baltimore Ravens' secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo before being engulfed by a bear hug from actor Robert Davi. Justin Tuck, a former local New York Giant-turned Oakland Raider, embraced Salgado next.
"I do it for the people involved, you know, Big Daddy," Martin says. "Knowing Rich, knowing what he stands for, representing an amazing foundation, I'll help out as much as I can."
Those who know Salgado know how much giving back means to him. In 2008, Salgado was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Salgado had open brain surgery at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medial Center's Brain Aneurysm Center, which has helped him maintain a normal life today. North Shore-LIJ's Brain Aneurysm Center at Cushing Neuroscience Institute was the primary beneficiary for the inaugural Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic in 2012. The center was a beneficiary in 2012, along with the Long Island Children's Museum. The three years of the event have provided support for charities both inside and outside Salgado's Long Island community.
"It's good to give back. If you're able to do it, why shouldn't you?" Salgado says.
As for one of the 2014 beneficiaries, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Salgado had the opportunity to visit the hospital in Memphis, Tenn. a few weeks ago. Multiple guests, including actress Melissa Joan Hart, a client and friend of Salgado, wore St. Jude Children's Research Hospital attire. Salgado, who has admiration for medical treatment centers, is giddy about his relationship with the hospital.
"It's done a 360. It's a great relationship. I've gotten to see and feel what hope is, especially from these kids," Salgado said of some of the children he met at the hospital.
For Big Daddy, whose dozens of NFL clients are almost sure to include a Super Bowl champion every year, the Celebrity Golf Classic is his big day. While managing clients such as Vernon Davis, Osi Umenyiora, Larry Fitzgerald, Arian Foster and Reggie Bush, and appearing as a correspondent for Fox News, Salgado takes time to plan the golf outing. The anxiety leading up to the day nearly gets to him.
"I barely slept, so it's been exciting. It's like a game day for me, where I want to get to the game and get it over with. It's kicked off and now we're ready to go," he said on the red carpet.
Salgado also runs Big Daddy's Shopping Spree at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, with 10 percent of sales benefiting the Big Daddy Foundation. The Big Daddy Foundation works in conjunction with the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic.
On Monday, Chris Algieri was nine days removed from claiming the WBO light-welterweight boxing title in a split decision on June 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Rather than show a champion's hangover, Algieri showed up at Oheka Castle, belt in tow. Salgado and Algieri recently met, and the duo bonded over their Long Island roots.
"I live 15 minutes from here. This is where I grew up," Algieri, a Huntington native, said. "It's a great cause. I'm glad to know Big Daddy and be part of such a great event."
As for the future of his career, Algieri will not be satisfied with his most recent victory. He is looking expand his career both in victories and exposure.
"I'm just looking for the biggest fights I can. The most lucrative fights," Algieri says. "I don't want to be the best. I want to fight the best. I want the opportunity to get in there with the big name guys and get what I think I deserve and see what I can do out there."
While many of the guests arrived Sunday night, the core portion of the event took place Monday. After the red carpet opening, golfing occurred in the afternoon, followed by an evening cocktail party with and a silent and live auction. The night entertainment even included a couple of helicopter landings.
Salgado says he does not put an exact figure on the money he hoped to raise from the event, but he said monetary gains and awareness are his goals when hosting his Celebrity Golf Classics. Big Daddy is always looking for the biggest of results.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.
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