Blakeney headlines Troy alumni club golf scramble

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Butler County version of the Troy nation gathered Wednesday at Cambrian Ridge Golf Course for their annual golf outing to raise money for scholarships for Butler County children.

The Troy faithful got to rub elbows with Troy University head football coach Larry Blakeney who reflected on Troy's admittance to Division 1A in 2001.

&#8220In 2001 we had a news conference about 1A football and our knees were knocking wondering if we could to it or not,” he said. &#8220There is no doubt in my mind we did the right thing. We played Nebraska and Miami that year and since then we've competed at the highest level and we're getting a little bit better each year and getting a little better player each year.”

Blakeney said Troy first started looking into joining Division 1A in the 90s, but it wasn't until current Chancellor Jack Hawkins came to Troy that the discussions moved to a decision.

&#8220When Dr. Hawkins came in, 1A became our quest and by the end of the 90s we were petitioning the NCAA to join 1A,” Blakeney said.

Since moving up to Division 1A, Blakeney said Troy has proved on the football field they're worthy of the classification.

&#8220We beat Mississippi State at home and we beat Marshall twice; once on the road and once at home and not many (teams) beat Marshall at home.”

Troy alumnus Jimmy Gardner and others organized the tournament and he said four scholarships of $500 each will be awarded to Butler County students at the alumni association's annual meeting June 8, at Cambrian Ridge.

&#8220We started the alumni association in 1996 and it has grown steadily ever since,” Gardner said. &#8220We now have 106 members (in Butler County) but we have many more times that number from our local schools who have graduated from Troy.”

David Hancock also helped organize the tournament, which raised approximately $3,500, and said Gardner is one of the reasons the Butler County alumni association is able to fund scholarships for children in the county.

&#8220He's probably the biggest Troy University supporter in the county,” Hancock said. &#8220He makes the call and the coaches come.”

The winners of the tournament were the team of Hancock, Sam Star, Phillip Murphy and Ken Gibson. Second place went to the team of Brett Paulk, Ronnie Paulk, Kenny Perdue and Jeff Nance with the team of Mike Norman, Lionel Rainey, Drew Bass and Al Brannon finishing in third place.

Closest to the pin winners were Leon Hilyer, Drew Bass, Jack Rainey and Carlton Canter.