SCOTTSDALE — More than 2,000 supporters of Notre Dame Preparatory gathered on campus on Thanksgiving morning for the fourth annual Bemis Bowl, named in memory of the high school’s founding head football coach, the late Scot Bemis.
Originally played at a nearby park, the flag football games for students, alumni and supporters were held on campus for the first time at the recently completed Scot A. Bemis Field.
The late coach’s family established the Scot A. Bemis fund with the Catholic Community Foundation. Its mission is to further Scot’s legacy and the efforts of Team Bemis by supporting the search for a cure for lung cancer and providing scholarships for students. Coach Bemis died of lung cancer in 2012 at age 45. The net proceeds from the 2014 Bemis Bowl and future events will be added to this fund.
“His words will forever echo in our minds and play out within our lives.”
A respected coach and physical science teacher, Coach Bemis led the NDP varsity football team to state championship wins in 2007 and 2008 and also coached the girls’ varsity soccer team to a state title in 2010. NDP graduate Sean Renfree went on to play for Duke University and is now a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Team Bemis initiative to host the annual Bemis Bowl has gained the support of thousands of people around the world via the internet and has made its presence known at more than 70 universities, 40 states, and 10 countries around the globe.
Chase Tushaus of the class of 2006 played for Coach Bemis during the first four years of the Catholic high school’s existence and gave a heartfelt tribute at the Bemis Bowl Nov. 27.
“His words will forever echo in our minds and play out within our lives,” Tushaus said, noting the coach’s words to the team once during a losing game. “He said the way we responded now to adversity would be the way we responded later in life to adversity. When times got tough in life, what would our response be?”
The annual flag football game serves as a way to draw the community together and remember the lessons learned from a coach who instilled more than the fundamentals of football.
“God spoke through this man to each one of us,” Tushaus said. “It is our turn now to allow his message to be spoken through us and share the life of Coach Bemis.”