Strangely enough, when the UC football team earned a bid to the 2000 Motor City Bowl in Detroit, it planted the seeds that would create the inaugural “Bearcats on the Links” Central Ohio Alumni Golf Outing in Columbus in 2009.
Annual Golf Outing Plants UC Flag in Central Ohio
“Bob Mayer (Business ’69) and I worked together at Wendy’s corporate offices and we organized a bus trip from Columbus to Detroit for the bowl game,” recalled Mark Inzetta (Business ’77). “We sort of pulled some other UC friends into the process — Chet Chaney (Arts & Sciences ’85), Chris Pore (Engineering ’77), and Scott Simmers (Engineering ’83) — and that little group was approached several years later by the UC Foundation to form an official Columbus-area committee.”
As the committee came to fruition, it was suggested that a golf outing would be a good networking and fundraising event for the Columbus region, and the group suddenly had a new event to organize.
“The idea was to ‘plant a UC flag’ in Central Ohio,” Inzetta said. “We felt such an annual event would be a fun opportunity for UC alums to get together with new and old friends. There are a lot of UC folks in this area, but there wasn’t anything being done annually that everyone could look forward to.”
Gearing up for its fourth edition, the “Bearcats on the Links” golf outing always features some UC sports celebrities of the past and present. “Last year, we had coaches Butch Jones from football and Jamelle Elliott from women’s basketball, along with previous UC greats like George Wilson, Roland West, Tony Yates and UC Alumni Association executive director Myron Hughes,” said Simmers. “We have raised over $30,000 for the university in our first three years and look forward to adding to that this year.”
This year’s event will be held Monday, June 18, at the Riviera Golf Club in Dublin and will feature UC Baseball Coach Brian Cleary as well as 1961 and 1962 national champion basketball players Larry Shingleton and Tony Yates, the former UC coach.
Golf outings often start on a somewhat modest scale but, if done right with the proceeds supporting a cause everyone cares about, can grow quickly. All dollars raised from “Bearcats on the Links” are split evenly between the UCATS Athletics fund and the Central Ohio Scholarship Fund, which annually helps Columbus-area incoming freshmen attend UC.
“This annual golf outing started as just an idea, but with a little effort from several of us, we pulled off a successful event our first year with only five or six weeks of planning,” said Pore. “Since then, it’s grown each year. It would be great to see our model adopted in other communities across the U.S. We all have a common bond — we’re all Bearcats for life. It’s great to get together and share that while raising some money for the university and our future Bearcats. It’s very rewarding, and a lot of fun!”
Sustaining and strengthening the UC experience and alumni connections is the common denominator.
“One of the goals is greater top-of-mind awareness in this area for UC,” Inzetta said. “We’re only about 100 miles from campus, but it can feel like light-years away. If you don’t work hard to keep UC’s name in front of the public, it gets drowned out. This golf outing goes a long way to bringing people out of the woodwork. We want more people to realize that here in Central Ohio, not only is it safe to say you’re a UC alum — you can scream it at the top of your lungs right along with plenty of your UC friends!”