Last month I was invited to the University Of Georgia Lettermen’s Inaugural Golf Tournament, which was held at the University Golf Course. The classes of 1975 through 1978, which happen to be my years at UGA had the largest turnout. I felt like this was my class reunion, catching up with all my team mates. I played with Bob Young from Atlanta, who was the team captain my freshman year, John Gibbs, and Gus Sylvan, who were a couple of years ahead of me, however we competed everyday with each other, becoming like brothers to one another. What has been truly wonderful is that we have kept in touch throughout the years, as they still love golf and following the tour. I must say they have been very kind to me throughout my playing career, always touching me in ways that were so kind. Tim Simpson organized a tribute to our Coach Dick Copas, which brought him and all of his players to tears at an emotional ceremony at the end of the day. I was asked to say a few words along with anyone that was coached by Coach. Tim Simpson, Robert Donald, Joe Walter, Gus Holbrook, and many others spoke. I remember getting choked up when Jim Becker, one or our top players from Connecticut, recounted a story about his undisciplined younger days of drinking and partying when he shouldn’t have been. Even to the point of getting caught late at night at a tournament by another coach, getting sent home, being punished, however, Coach Copas, in his wisdom, was so helpful in not throwing him off the team, which he knew he deserved, instead, Coach helped him be the person that he is today. Jim broke down a little, thanking Coach for being there for him, reiterating the point that without his wisdom in handling him the way he did his life would have much different, for sure he wouldn’t be standing here today. That was a heartfelt thank you that made each and every one of us grateful for the day and the time together.
Coach Hack has developed UGA’s golf program beyond what anyone could have imagined. David Boyd spearheaded the fundraising to raise millions of dollars for the golf program many years ago, thereby, having the honor of The Boyd Center, which is the state of the art golf facility where the golf teams have their private practice, locker, and meeting rooms. All located at the University Course, where the two NCAA National Championships, along with all the accolades the teams have collected throughout the years are displayed. David Boyd was in attendance, which everyone was thrilled to be in his presence. He gave so much time and energy developing our golf program, I was truly honored to have met him for the first time, being able to tell him how much I admired him for his love and dedication to the Georgia Golf teams. Without David our program wouldn’t be where it is today as an elite program in all of college golf. Thank you David you have been and angel to our program.
Gus Holbrook came up to me toward the end of the day, recounting a story that made him feel so much pride. He was touched that I would say something in the press so nice about him this past year. Somewhere in a golf publication I had told the story how we lost to The University of Houston because the Holbrook brother’s dad had passed away the weekend of the NCAA’s, therefore, they had to go home early. Eliminating Gus’s consistent 75’s every day left the gap that we couldn’t make up, thereby, finishing second. I said that with Gus and Joe we would have won without a doubt. With tears in his eyes, Gus said he tried to play early the next day to finish the tournament, however, Coach Copas insisted that, “Gus you need to be with your family.” Gus was proud and thankful that he was part of that great team. Accordingly, I was so thankful that I had stated the truth about our team and that it had such a positive effect on Gussy. Isn’t this what college golf is all about? For that matter, isn’t this what makes life worth living; all the people that we have an effect on, but equally important, all goodness that others bring to us and our world can be so rewarding and inspirational?
I’m hopeful that everyone that was in attendance will enjoy the pictures, and encourage everyone to get together next year to make this an annual event.
Until next time, may God bless your families during this Christmas Season?