Skip to main content
Original Issue

Panthers and Their Young

Carolina players have created a place where kids can learn--and raise a ruckus

PANTHERS SAFETY Mike Minter (red shirt) and defensive end Mike Rucker (in white) aren't starring in a remake of Kindergarten Cop. They're taking a playground break at Ruckus House, the learning and day care center the two players--as well as teammate Stephen Davis and Muhsin Muhammad (now with Chicago)--opened this summer in Harrisburg, N.C. Last year, when they couldn't find good day care near Charlotte, Minter (above, in uniform) suggested the players go into business. They assembled a 35-person staff (including 31 teachers) and helped devise what Rucker calls a "customized curriculum" that includes Spanish classes, computer training, rock climbing and a lot of swinging and sliding. Now, 187 kids ages six weeks through 12 years (only six are children of Panthers) come to the 36,000-square-foot Ruckus House. "We try to make the parents feel like their kid has been drafted to the Ruckus team," says Minter, 31. The summer session costs $105 a week for kids over five (prices are higher for younger kids), and when the school year begins, Ruckus House will add preschool programs ($625 a month for three- to four-year-olds) and after-school care ($15 a day). That's not the last of it. The players have selected sites for five more Ruckus Houses to go up in the Carolinas over the next two years.