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Golfing for Erk
Former Eagles help fund scholarship
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Coach Pate FOR 6.20

John Pate, former GSU assistant coach, talks about the golf tournament for the late Erk Russell.
    The idea was born this spring as a handful of Georgia Southern football alumni gathered at former longtime defensive line coach John Pate’s house after the annual Blue-White game.
    While reminiscing and remembering the life of Erk Russell, the father of Eagle football who passed away in Sept. 2006, the group discussed how to honor the icon.     They decided on hosting three golf tournaments — the first of which will be held this Saturday — with all proceeds going towards the Erk Russell Scholarship Fund. Former players and coaches hope to make a tournament an annual event and eventually want to raise enough money to have the scholarship endowed.
    “Coach Russell was awesome — everything he stood for and what he meant to Georgia Southern, the community of Statesboro and the state of Georgia,” said former defensive lineman Victor Cabral. “We thought it’d be a good way to do our part for his remembrance. We also wanted to get all the guys back together again to have a good time.”
    The first tournament — the FIDO Invitational — will be at Green Acres Golf Course in Dexter on Saturday. It is open to everyone, and registration begins at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start at 10.
    The second event, the Timbucktoo, will be in Alpharetta in early March 2008 and be followed by the Mombo-Gook in Fernandina Beach, Fla. Each of the three tournaments is named after an Erk-ism, and money raised will be presented to the Eagle Football Alumni Association for the scholarship fund during the 2008 spring game.
    The cost for Saturday’s tournament is $75 for former players, coaches, managers and EFAA members, $90 for guests and $125 for anyone who wants to sponsor a hole. About 40 golfers are expected for this weekend’s event, and the cost includes lunch and beverages. Donations are also accepted and can be mailed to “The Erk Russell Golf Fund” c/o John Pate, 3013 Dogleg Drive, Dexter, GA, 31019.
    “Erk left a long-time legacy here,” Pate said. “His thumbprint on this campus and on this football program will never be wiped away. This is our way of remembering him and carrying on his legacy as long as we can.”
    For more information, contact Pate at (478) 279-0822 or Cabral at (912) 536-9549.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.