by Frank Mercogliano, Asst. A.D. for Communications
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- Regardless of the reason, there was plenty of things going on in the Albuquerque area last weekend. There were a pair of Lobo teams winning conference championships, with men’s outdoor track winning the title in Wyoming and with baseball clinching a third straight regular season crown at Lobo Field in a tense win over Air Force.
Across the street at the world famous Pit, the University of New Mexico’s Class of 2014 were walking across the stage as graduates, including several UNM football players such as newly minted Rimington Watch List candidate LaMar Bratton.
However, just down the street at the UNM South Championship Course, a different type of gathering was taking place, all for former football players who have an undying love of the University, as the football team hosted their alums for its Third Annual Alumni Golf Weekend.
In what turned into a picture perfect day in Albuquerque, scores were kept, but the only number that mattered was 100, as in nearly 100 football alumni made their way back to the Duke City to get a little golf in, and give support to Bob Davie’s rising program.
“Well I live here in Albuquerque, so I’ve been involved with the program ever since I left,” said Jim Ottmann (Class of 1963). “Anytime I can do something like this and help the program, well I’m going to be involved.”
“We need gatherings like this to bring people back and to keep people’s interest in the program. This is one of the thing that he does, along with some other things, that are just great for the program.”
Ottmann’s sentiments were shared by one of the most beloved of UNM football alums, Don Perkins. The former Lobo and Dallas Cowboy great, whose photo adorns the stadium wall, still lives in New Mexico and loves being involved with Davie’s program.
“I’ve always admired coaches … they have done really well here,” said Perkins, who was a three-sport star in high school before donning New Mexico’s colors.
Of a more recent vintage, Erik Cook who spent parts of three seasons with the Washington Redskins and New York Jets, was making his first trip to the annual spring golf outing.
“I’m super excited as this is my first year here,” said Cook. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about this event so I’m excited to meet the old guys … well, I’m an old guy now too.” While the youthful Cook might be an “old guy” in terms of a former Lobo and NFL veteran, he is just glad to be a part of a program rising back to prominence.
“I love this brotherhood, just seeing these guys knowing we all played football at the University of New Mexico,” said Cook, who along with meeting many alums was getting the chance to meet up and talk with Coach Davie for the first time. Regarding the upcoming season, he added “I’m really excited to see where this team is going, coach has them going in the right direction.”
The right direction, being with alums, being back on campus, and the camaraderie of being a Lobo football player were themes that ran throughout the event, a fact can sustain momentum through summer workouts and into fall camp.And with the 2014 Lobos season opening up 100 days from tomorrow against UTEP at Branch Field at University Stadium on August 30, the season will be here before you know it. On the same day the Lobos won two conference titles and countless others earned their diplomas officially and walked across the graduation stage, going from a student to an alum, it turned out to be a perfect spring day to bring back the Lobos of past.