San Antonio – A non-stop mental and physical thirst for competition recruits student-athletes to become Rattlers, but St. Mary’s University views them as much more than a ticket to victory.
“Athletes are human beings, too,” says the legendary Buddy Meyer, the Rattlers’ former men’s basketball coach. “They serve a purpose.”
It is with this philosophy that St. Mary’s – and San Antonio’s – widely-known Coach Meyer partnered with Fatso’s Sports Garden to create the Herman A. “Buddy” Meyer Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund and its associated golf tournament, which raises money for scholarships for former St. Mary’s athletes to complete their degree after their athletic eligibility has expired.
“I benefited from the scholarship because I got to finish my education,” says former scholarship recipient and current men’s basketball graduate assistant Lorenzo Anthony. “Even now, if I didn’t have that happen I wouldn’t be continuing my education right now.”
Anthony is one of the many athletes who have received the scholarship since its start eight years ago. Last Monday’s golf tournament honored the newest class of former Rattlers who were granted the encouragement of funding a professional degree. The recipients of award will soon be announced.
The annual golf tournament was hosted on Sept. 10 at the Republic Golf Course, proving to be picking up steam and an increasing number of sponsors in its eighth year. Hoisting clubs Monday was a cast of former Rattler athletes and alumni, community business owners and partners with Fatso’s Sports Garden, among others, that topped the participation mark at 132 players. The total scholarship money raised hit a spike Monday, bumping its $25,000 year last year to $42,000 this year. The funds collected root from five sponsorship levels in which participants team up with other golfers for an 18-hole day for a good cause, with additional money being raised at a silent auction and from donations.
Attraction to the tournament benefiting ex-athletes is not only from an excuse for a day on the green and helping young adults become professionals, but Meyer himself. Meyer’s long tradition of commitment to St. Mary’s and its athletes has made him a respected and beloved leader that continues to inspire, long after first encounters.
Ed Boyle was one such participant sporting Rattler pride last week. Boyle (B.B.A ’71) has continued to hold Meyer in high-esteem since the late 1960s.
“Buddy Meyer was a coach back then while I was there and did a lot for the University,” says Boyle, who has teed off the past three years for the tournament. “And he still does a lot for the University and I like to support the University in any way I can and support Buddy in any ventures he puts his mind to.”
Also among the alum prowling the greens were ex-athletes who experienced the same concerns current athletes face after seeing their eligibility end, including former St. Mary’s basketball standout and current St. Mary’s Booster Club President Mark Pawzun.
“I can appreciate what Coach Meyer is doing with his scholarship for ex-athletes,” says Pawzun, who completed his degree in finance in ’80 after a four-year Rattler athletic career from ’75-’79. “I was in the same position when I finished playing and still needed seven hours to graduate and (this scholarship) wasn’t around then, so I feel like I can give back to the University and give back to Coach Meyer by participating in this event. It’s a really excellent cause.”
As the 18 holes rolled in, marking the end of the eighth annual Herman A. “Buddy” Meyer Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund, it further signified the growing support for ex-Rattler athletes in fostering their futures long after their sporting careers end.
“We’ve got a number of professionals out in the field,” Meyer said, “and it’s important for all these kids to finish their degrees and get out and be important parts of society.”