May 18, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The golf course is proving to be a good venue for Lobo football alumni to reconnect with the program.
The University of New Mexico football program held its second annual Lobo Football Alumni Golf Tournament at the UNM Championship Course on Saturday.
The event included 92 Lobos of seasons past sharing memories and helping to build a sense of brotherhood in the program.
"By far, the best thing about this is meeting the former players," former quarterback Kole McKamey (2003-06) said. "Seeing all these guys, you don't get to see a lot of them because you all have your own lives. But they're family; they're brothers. You want to come back, enjoy each other's company and catch up. You're kind of creating a Lobo nation. This is a lot of fun, something I look forward to every year."
Building a camaraderie and kinship among the different classes of Lobo players was one of the primary goals second-year coach Bob Davie wanted to accomplish when he organized this event.
"More than what the pulse or momentum of what this (golf outing) is, this is an example of what college football is supposed to be," Davie said, "where guys come back and relive the things that they shared when they were here.
"As we build this thing, you build more and more relationships. Take a guy like Robin Cole for example. His coming back (for a Lobo football-related event) is encouraging. There are a lot of those stories - guys that wanted a vehicle to stay involved with this program. I think it's great and it's only going to get better."
Cole, a former Lobo defensive end (1973-76) who won two Super Bowls (XIII and XIV) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he was as excited to see fellow Lobos as he was to return to his alma mater.
"This is tremendous," Cole said. "I'm looking at Don Woods (1973) over there; I was in awe of him when I came to the University of New Mexico. The guy could run.
"I see Andy Frederick (1974-76). ... To see all these people, it's just fantastic. I always love coming back to Albuquerque. This place chose me years ago. I tell people I didn't choose the University of New Mexico, the University of New Mexico chose me. Not just the football program, this whole area chose me to be part of this great city and university. I still love it here and get excited every time I come back."
Former Lobo center and current Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Ryan Cook (2002-05) also took part in the festivities and said he was honored in being asked to come back and be a part of the golf event.
"Just walking out here and meeting a bunch of guys, a lot of them coming before me, which I had the pleasure of meeting, is really special," Cook said. "It's also good to catch up with the guys I played with. I'm just thankful they invited me to be a part of it."
Coming back to town reminded actor and former UNM fullback Sam Scarber (1968-70) about his days as a Lobo.
"We were a tough team," he recalled. "I was a team captain with Rod Wallace (1968-70), and people thought I was off my rocker. If I got you guessing, I got you beat."
One of the first things Scarber said he did when he came back to town was visit the Frontier Restaurant across from UNM, one of his old hangouts.
"I had to have my green chile," he said with a laugh. "I had to feed the fire."
Former Cleveland Brown linebacker Nick Speegle (2001-04), who came to UNM via La Cueva High School, says more than the games and practices, he remembered his fellow players.
"You form really tight relationships with your buddies," he said. "You remember the antics."
To a man, all were impressed with the job Davie did in his first season at UNM, taking a program that had won three games from 2009-11 and winning four games in 2012.
"Coach Davie is a genuine guy," McKamey said. "He cares about the program and the community. He's on a mission to create a legacy for the program. Everything he's done has been the right way. He's the perfect guy for the job."
Added Cook, "Coach Davie's done a wonderful job since he's come in. He's turned around the program here. I think they're building something special. I encourage the Lobo faithful to come out and support the team. They'll appreciate what is being built here."
Just as much as the Lobos appreciated the "family reunion."
"Meeting guys that went through the same things you went through, we have that bond whether we know each other or not, for the rest of our lives," Speegle said. "That's a tremendous feeling."
And it's all part of Davie's plan to build a program based on tradition and pride.
"It doesn't matter who you player for, what year you played, how many games you won or how many games you lost," he said. "Once you leave, you're all Lobo football players. That's all that matters. Let's be honest. My biggest goal is for them to be able to say they'll always be proud that they played at University of New Mexico. There's no better way to do that than what's happening currently with your football players.
"The obligation I have is to put a team out there that no matter where these guys are in the country, they can say they're proud to have played for University of New Mexico."