Our Golf Classic

Alumni Association Board Member Susan Whitelaw (second front left) is pictured with her husband Steve (far left), Espy and Scotty Moran.

LSU Assistant Coach Steve Ensminger (middle left) is shown with his wife Amy (far left), Voice of the Tigers Jim Hawthorne and his wife Carol.

Representing the LSU Alumni Association, Chief Operating Officer Cliff Vannoy (middle right) is shown with Association staff member Matt DeVille (far right). Also pictured are Mansfield natives Billy Bennett and Brad Bryant, both of whom played in the Saturday morning golf tournament with the Association staff members.



DeSoto Parish Chapter raises more than $40,000 at annual golf event

MANY, La. – LSU Tight Ends Coach Steve Ensminger and Voice of the Tigers Jim Hawthorne were the featured speakers at a banquet following the 2010 LSU Alumni Association Dr. Don Taylor Golf Classic, held July 9-10 at Cypress Bend Resort near Many, La.

Dr. Gil Rew, president of the DeSoto Parish Chapter, said the event raised more than $40,000, which will go to further fund scholarships and professorships sponsored by the chapter.

“The event allowed us to exceed our financial goals to establish several scholarship as we provided a great time for all,” Rew said. “We celebrated the bonds that being an alumni, an alumni by choice, or tiger fans with Jim Hawthorne and coach Steve Ensminger.”

Over 220 golfers took part in the two-day golf tournament, which featured an early-bird round Friday afternoon followed by a Saturday morning flight as well as afternoon session. The tournament was held on the championship golf course at Cypress Bend, which is a part of the Audubon Golf Trail and overlooks picturesque Toledo Bend.

A Friday night fish fry was followed by a “Gameday Q&A Session” with Ensminger and Hawthorne. The evening concluded with live entertainment from the Magnolia Brown Band.

Saturday’s festivities got off to an early start with the morning golf flight teeing off at 8 a.m. Golfers were treated to a hamburger lunch buffet at the Cypress Bend club house, which was followed by the afternoon flight.

The day’s activities were highlighted with a banquet, featuring both Ensminger and Hawthorne. Over 250 tickets were sold for the evening gala.

A former LSU quarterback from 1976-79, Ensminger is entering his first season as an assistant coach at his alma mater. His coaching career has spanned three decades including stints at Nicholls State, McNeese, Louisiana Tech, Georgia, Texas A&M, Clemson and most recently Auburn (2003-08).

Hawthorne is entering his 29th year as the Voice of the Tigers. Along with his play-by play duties during football season, Hawthorne handles men’s basketball and baseball broadcasts on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

While raising money to continue funding it’s numerous scholarships and professorships, Rew said one of the biggest goals this year was to help bolster membership numbers for the national Association. The LSU Alumni Association is in the midst of a campaign targeting 20,010 members in 2010. Heading into 2010, the LSU Alumni Association was last in the SEC Western Division in total number of members (approximately 7,500).

“The greatest sense of accomplish came in doing our part in addressing the very serious membership issue that we who love LSU have neglected and taken for granted for too many years,” Rew said. “We have increased our areas membership in the LSU Alumni Association at LSU, not just at the chapter level. We only made a small dent in the deficiency of membership, but we are continuing to do what we can. I know if we all get our tiger friends back in the fold of the LSU Alumni Association family, we will return to the top.”

Rew said at the conclusion of the golf event the DeSoto Chapter will have funded it’s second “Top 100? scholarship in the name of Dr. Don Taylor. During this year’s event, Rew received notification a third “Top 100? scholarship was committed to by a member to be established within the next month.

The DeSoto Chapter also sponsors room at the cook hotel, funds a professorship for Dr. Mark Hafner, awards six leadership scholarships and has awarded 32 local scholars awards.

Rew wanted to include special thanks to John Russell, Tommy Craig, Dr. John Gregory and Scott and Amy Atkins. Russell helped co-emcee the Friday night event. Craig co-emceed the Saturday night banquet, secured Ensminger and Hawthorne as speakers for the event, helped with the golf tournament, was in charge of the banquet and cooked burger for the Saturday night “Midnight Madness Band” on the back porch. Dr. Gregory helped gather sponsorships from a three-state area (Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas). The Atkins’ sponsored the bands as they do every year.

“Any one of these people would deflect any credit,” Rew said. But we all share that on this one weekend it is all about we and not about me.”