One of the most celebrated personalities in the National Football League this year has scheduled a stop in Missoula to raise money for a teen center.
Tim Tebow, the second-year quarterback of the Denver Broncos, will speak at the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus on March 7, thanks to the efforts of a Big Sky High School senior.
Tebow will talk about his life as a best-selling author, professional athlete and Heisman Trophy winner, in addition to a sharing of his Christian faith.
"He's huge right now, and he's a great Christian influence," said Emerald Gyuricza, who is raising money for the City Life Community Center as her senior project. "It's what City Life is trying to promote in its organization. And Tim Tebow is like the Michael Jackson of football right now."
The center is home to 11 nonprofit agencies, a paintball course, a community gym, a public cafe, classrooms, and is open to community organizations for meetings and events.
Tebow led the Broncos into the NFL playoffs with a string of improbable comebacks over the 2011 football season, including an 80-yard overtime touchdown pass to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. The Broncos lost to the New England Patriots last weekend.
Already scheduled to visit Kalispell, Tebow was tapped to speak at the Adams Center and agreed to the deal with City Life on Wednesday.
Tebow will speak for about 20 minutes beginning at noon on March 7, then field questions from the audience for the next 40 minutes. Later that evening, Tebow will be in Kalispell to help raise money for the Stillwater Christian School.
Gyuricza was looking for ways to raise money for City Life when she and her father Brent, who is the center's executive director, learned that Tebow would be in western Montana in March.
"The day we found out he was coming to Kalispell, we started making phone calls right away," she said. "So we called a lot of people."
Tickets for Tebow's appearance go on sale Friday at www.griztix.com, and at all GrizTix outlets. Pricing is $100 for floor seats, $75 reserved, $50 general and $30 for students, including UM students and those under the age of 20.
Cost of the entire event will be more than $60,000, according to City Life, including Tebow's fee.
Proceeds will raise money for City Life, a nonprofit that has been operating at a deficit since the economy began to take a nosedive. Gyuricza hopes to raise up to $250,000 for the center.
In addition to the event at the Adams Center, City Life is working with Tebow to schedule a couple of other community appearances, including at least one surprise school visit.
Tebow has earned at least one new fan.
"I've never been a Broncos fan before," said the teenager, "but he sure has made me one."