The New Orleans Saints running back from USC and Helix High returns home to start a youth football camp on March 24 at Qualcomm Stadium.
- Feb. 14, 2006
- By Tom Shanahan, San Diego Hall of Champions
Reggie Bush turned “619” into a brand name as a USC running back on his way to winning the 2005 Heisman Trophy. Wearing San Diego’s area code imprinted in eye black was the Helix High alum’s way of representing San Diego football.
Bush is using that identity to launch “Reggie Bush Camp 619,” a youth football clinic on March 24 at Qualcomm Stadium that he plans to turn into an annual event as one of the nation’s largest free camps. The free one-day camp is for boys and girls ages 7 to 17, with Bush hoping to attract 2,000 youths and grow the camp larger in the future.
Bush announced “Camp 619” on Feb. 14 at a press conference at the Hall of Champions.
“I’m blessed, and this camp is something I feel I should be doing,” Bush said. “I remember when I played Pop Warner, I always wanted to play in the NFL, and I’ve always known if I ever made it, I wanted to give back to my community.”
Bush, who recently finished his rookie season helping the New Orleans Saints to the NFC Championship game, entered into a partnership with the San Diego Hall of Champions and Athletes Helping Kids, two non-profit organizations, to make Camp 619 a reality.
The Hall of Champions is accepting sign-ups for the clinic on its website. There also will be a reception on March 23 to raise funds for the Champions Sports Academy – the Hall of Champions’ youth training and education program. Tickets for the reception can also be purchased on the website.
“The first camp will be one day for four hours,” Bush said. “But we want this to get bigger. I want this to be as big as possible – something that’s never been seen before.”
In addition to teaching fundamentals and techniques, Bush said an emphasis will be placed on NFL players interacting with the kids. Among the players who have committed to coaching at the clinic are Drew Brees, Joe Horn, Ronnie Lott and Antonio Cromartie.
“You can see I have passion for San Diego,” Bush said. “The 619 started as a way to let people know I’m not going to forget where I came from. That’s my way of representing San Diego.”
Bush, a genius with the football in his hands, looked like a marketing genius when he came up with the 619 identity. But he said he was merely joking around at practice one day at USC when he came up with the idea of wearing 619 in his eye black.
He never expected it to catch on with fans and now evolve into a title for his youth camp.
“We were joking around, and I came out to practice with,” he recalled. “Everyone thought it was stupid.”
Bush also plans to award two $10,000 scholarships to student-athletes at his high school.
“I want this to grow and include more high schools,” Bush said. “I want this to grow bigger and into something that’s never been seen before.”