Former Utah Linebacker To Open For Ron McBride Foundation Benefit Concert

Jun 17, 2024, 4:07 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah linebacker Taulia Lave will be the opening act for the Ron McBride Foundation’s benefit concert taking place on Saturday, June 22.

Lave, who is in the middle of a budding country music career, will take the stage with fellow artists Drayton Farley and main act Ryan Bingham (Walker from Yellowstone) and the Texas Gentlemen to raise funds for former Utah football head coach Ron McBride’s foundation that benefits at-risk youth throughout the Salt Lake valley.

Lave played for McBride from 1995-2000 and is eager to give back to his former head coach that he says has given him so much.


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Taulia Lave Recounts His Love Of Music While Playing For Ron McBride, Current Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham

Going from flying around a football field beating up on unsuspecting quarterbacks, running backs and receivers to pursuing country music career may feel like a pretty big jump, but as Lave recalls, the love for music was always there. Sometimes to the irk of McBride and then-defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham.

“I think it was my freshman year,” Lave said. “We went to camp, and I brought my guitar. We had a scrimmage and we got beat up from our offense- our offense beat us up bad. They ran the ball all over us, they passed all over us. We were in a defensive meeting and coach Kyle Whittingham and Ron McBride talked about instead of studying the film for what we should have been doing in the scrimmage- you guys are playing the guitar and hanging out. They were talking about me. I got teased from everyone- that’s what you do in football. My point is that I’ve played guitar forever, but I never thought I’d be singing.”


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29 years later, what was perhaps a bit of an annoyance for his coaches at the time will be proudly put on display in an effort to make a difference for school aged kids in Utah.

Just ahead of his performance for the Ron McBride Foundation, Lave is set to release his first single- a cover of “Hurricane” by Band of Heathens on June 21. That single is one of many songs Lave recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and will eventually release in his first album, “Modern Day Cowboy”, due out later this year in October.

Taulia Lave Gets Emotional At The Thought Of Giving Back To A Man Who Gave Him So Much

Ask anyone that has come into contact with Ron McBride whether they were one of his former players, a staff member, or just a random stranger in passing and they will all likely tell you the same thing.

McBride knows how to leave people better than he found them. It was a key component of his coaching style and career, and it’s now been adopted into how he handles his foundation and all the causes it supports.

For Lave, coming back to Salt Lake City and donating his time and talent to McBride doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what he says his old coach has given him.

“Coach Mac is one of those guys- he has ‘it’,” Lave said. “You can’t really put your finger on what ‘it’ is, but he has it and he’s just one of the guys who exudes love, positivity, and just lifting others up. Our culture, our upbringing, and today- men in general- we don’t normalize saying ‘I love you’. Coach Mac was one of the first people that I had seen and heard telling me and other kids, ‘hey, I love you, man!’ It means a lot to come back and give to his foundation.”


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Fans can still purchase tickets for the Ron McBride Foundation’s benefit concert on June 22 featuring former Utah linebacker turned country artist Taulia Lave, Drayton Farley, and Ryan Bingham and the Texas Gentlemen but they are selling fast.

All proceeds from the concert will go to funding afterschool programs for at-risk children and youth in Title 1 Schools.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Former Utah Linebacker To Open For Ron McBride Foundation Benefit Concert