Lobo Basketball Golf Tournament Mixes Hoops, Golf, and Fun

Sept. 24, 2012

Albuquerque, N.M. --- Coaching basketball, particularly college basketball is hard work. Along with the Xs and the Os, there is practice, scheduling, travel, public appearances, interviews, and overseeing the education of over 20 student-athletes and managers.

While smiles on the sidelines are rare (except in UNM's case when UNM walked off a winner 28 times last year), Monday afternoon was all about smiles. It was all about Lobo basketball, golf, and a chance for the men's basketball team to thank their fans on the golf course. Monday was the 6th Annual Lobo Men's Basketball Fundraising Golf Tournament, which included a round a golf at Four Hills Country Club, a welcome lunch sponsored by Tucano's Brazilian Grill, and a tournament awards dinner sponsored by Applebee's.

A packed field hit the course at 1 p.m., and got some extra help from the Lobo coaching staff. Head coach Steve Alford was a bonus putter for all the various foursomes on the 18th green, and Associate Head Coach Craig Neal hit a bonus drive for all foursomes on the 10th tee.

"This is the sixth year of our event, and it's sponsored by our Sixth Man organization that really helps us a lot with raising money, volunteering, help and support," said head coach Steve Alford. "This golf outing kind of gets things tipped off for us. We know when this is over we are getting inside of two weeks of getting started."

Lobo "Did You Know" signs were on each tee box

"I appreciate Four Hills, they have been an outstanding Country Club in hosting us. The Sixth Man group has done a tremendous job in organizing a great event."

For the golfers worried about their score, it gave them a couple of extra hits from two seasoned golfers who are more than seasoned on the sidelines, but for the coaches, it allowed them to thank each and every foursome that came through the course. It gave Alford a chance to meet and greet everyone, to shake hands with the fans and supporters of the program, and get a picture with each foursome. That in itself made the event worthwhile for first Lobo coach to win at least 22 games in each of his first five seasons.

"I make sure to see everyone that plays," said Alford. "I putt with each group and it allows me to meet and greet with everyone and to get a picture taken."

The annual outing has continued to grow for the Lobos basketball team, selling out this year well before the first ball was teed up. The tournament also serves to continue a fun weekend for UNM's basketball team. The team, as it has done for several years, made a special appearance at the New Mexico State Fair on Saturday, meeting up with the public and signing autographs and taking pictures.

The team again had a chance to meet with the tournament players after the event at the awards ceremony, this time with a more formal introduction. The teams got the chance once again to meet the fans, sign autographs, and meet those fans that will once again pack The Pit in 2012-13 as UNM goes for a fourth regular season title in the last five years.

"This has been the first weekend that they have had some public appearances as we've really been working hard at our fall conditioning," said Alford. "We have two weeks left of fall conditioning and then we'll give them a couple of days off, and then the Howl is the 12th and practice starts on the 13th."

Coach Alford was a guest putter with all 32 teams

The Lobos will get a chance to officially start practice on October 12 when UNM hosts "The Lobo Howl", which will run from 6-9 p.m. on Friday night. Featuring the women's team as well, last year's Howl showcased a fun scrimmage and an ever-impressive dunk competition. That was highlighted by Jamal Fenton's winning dunk in which he tossed a ball over his head, did a back-flip, dunked the ball, and then pulled himself onto the basket. Fenton, a senior, is 5-9, making it all the more impressive.

With the golf tournament, banquet, the Howl, and practice, it won't be long until ESPN comes to The Pit as UNM hosts Davidson as a part of ESPN's 24-hours of College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon.

"It's getting close."

It is getting close...and the 15,411 that regularly pack The Pit can't wait.