By Jamie Combs
Less than two weeks before his team’s chief fundraiser, Elizabethton girls basketball coach Len Dugger was spreading gracious words like a stick of soft butter.
“I really appreciate the parents and the time they put into this, and the effort that they put into this just to make this a successful event,” Dugger said on Tuesday.
Dugger was referring to the annual EHS Lady Cyclone Basketball Golf Tournament, whose fourth version is set for Saturday, Oct. 1 at Elizabethton Golf Course.
According to Elizabethton’s coach, the event has traveled down a smooth path to this point.
“It’s been good,” he said. “But the thing about it, it takes a lot of planning — it takes a lot of people being involved. That’s what has made it so successful. We’ve just had a lot of super parents and people that have got in there and just made it go.
“The kids are asked to do certain things, but it’s a group of parents that really get behind the kids, get behind the program. And that really enables us to have this opportunity, to go to some of the camps we go to and stuff in the summer because they work extremely hard. It’s just a lot of effort out of the parents.”
Proceeds are basically earmarked for off-season expenses. The Lady Cyclones traditionally cover a lot of miles for their late spring/early summer camps.
“This is a fundraiser that allows us to go places like Shelbyville, Middle Tennessee (State), Knoxville and places to team camp,” Dugger said. “Not only that, but it allows us to take a lot of kids. (The golf tournament is) our main thing that we do to raise money.”
This year’s outing on the hometown links is slated for a 12:45 p.m. shotgun start, with the format being four-man team play.
The entry fee is $200 per team, but individual registration ($50) is allowed — and high school students are welcome.
“I think when the people get down there and they’re playing, it’s an enjoyable time,” Dugger said. “I think everybody really enjoys the camaraderie and also the friendly competitiveness of trying to see who’s going to win the tournament. There’s a lot of good golfers that play in it. Actually, (Congressman Phil) Roe played in it last year, and he said he really enjoyed playing and being able to help out.”
Lunch, which will be provided for the players, and registration begin at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the tournament — and last until 12:30 p.m.
Trophies will be awarded to the first- and second-place teams. Door prizes will also be given.
Moreover, sponsorships are available at $100 per hole or cart.
“We’re still looking for some more hole and cart sponsors,” Dugger said. “We’re still looking for a few more teams — we’d love to have a few more teams.
“And also, I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of the people in town — business people. And then a lot of times, it’s not business people. It’s just people who want to support the kids and the program. They play in the tournament or it’s people who sponsor a hole or sponsor a cart. I understand the economy now is not like it has been, but still, a lot of people just reach back and help us out — help these kids out, help our program out — and I really appreciate what all they do.”
For more information about the tournament, contact Phil Isaacs (512-2245), Joe Smithdeal (895-0169), Kenny Gouge (791-4532) or Dale Bowling (791-2324).
“We have parents of former players that play in it; we have current players that play in it,” Dugger said. “We have just a lot of the fans and people throughout the community that will come and play — and enjoy playing in the tournament.”