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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Ball State football coach Mike Neu, left, chats with alum Bruce Skiles as they wait to tee off at the university's Alumni Cardinal Classic golf match Thursday at Chestnut Hills.

Friday, June 23, 2017 1:00 am

Golf unites BSU alums for a cause

Austin Candor | The Journal Gazette

On the web

To see a video of an interview with Jacquie Downey, go to this story at

A sea of red flooded the greens at Chestnut Hills Golf Club as Ball State University held its annual Alumni Cardinal Classic golf outing Thursday afternoon.

Having first started at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in 1986, the event has become Ball State's largest alumni golf outing in Indiana.

“This golf outing is a fun event, everybody comes back,” said Matt Momper, a 1983 graduate and Ball State trustee. “Everyone just gets together, and we have some great Ball State stories.”

The Cardinal Classic's purpose is twofold as the day's funds are used for university scholarships granted to selected students set to begin their freshman year at Ball State, while alumni young and old are able to reconnect and revisit their glory days in Muncie. 

“You have all ages. We have alumni here that just graduated from college and we have alumni that are in their 70s,” said Jacquie Downey, president of the Ball State Northeast Alumni Association and a 1987 graduate.

Downey, Momper's younger sister, is in her first year as president after serving on the alumni board as well as the Miller Scholarship Board at Ball State. After visiting her brother many times on campus, Downey fell in love with the school and has long been active in alumni outreach. 

While rain threatened throughout the afternoon, nearly 30 teams – made up of 120 local Ball State alumni, sponsors and business owners – were able to sneak 18 holes in before the day's end.

After more than 75 applications were reviewed for the student grants, Ball State will be awarding $500 scholarships to three students from the area: Bluffton's Emily Miller, East Noble's Rebecca Nichols and Hamilton's Mackenzie Smyth.

The students and their families were honored and presented with the scholarships at the event's dinner following the golf outing.

Notable Cardinals present were football coach Mike Neu, offensive line coach Kyle Devan, men's basketball coach James Whitford and athletic director Mark Sandy, all of whom took a break from their respective jobs to break out their clubs for the day.

“Nothing better than playing with Ball State alums, especially when I'm an alum,” Neu said shortly before heading out to the green. “I'm excited about getting to know some new people as well, and getting the opportunity to put a face with a name, and build a relationship and encourage them to come back to campus to support Ball State athletics.”

Neu, who graduated in 1994, is in his second year as the Cardinals' head football coach.

With already 30 years of tradition, Downey hopes to see the community outing continue to grow in the coming years.

“Just seeing all the Fort Wayne people who are Ball State alumni, it's wonderful,” Downey said.