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By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot football gears up for fifth annual Cougar Classic golf tournament


Courtesy Photo

A member of the Niwot football coaching staff tees off as players watch at the 4th annual Cougar Classic on Aug. 4, 2017 at Saddleback Golf Club in Firestone.

Former CU Head Football Coach Gary Barnett to compete in fundraising event

Former University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett knows a thing or two about struggling football programs. In 1995, he coached perennial Big 10 basement-dweller Northwestern to its first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1949, a feat still recognized as one of the more dramatic turnarounds in college football history. So when Barnett called Jeremy Lanter out of the blue last December to offer his advice and mentorship, Niwot’s second-year head coach was all ears.

“The only stipulation he really put on it was, ‘I want you to read my book before we sit down and talk’,” Lanter recalled. In 1996, Barnett co-authored High Hopes: Taking the Purple to Pasadena, a memoir of Wildcats’ 1995 Cinderella season. “It’s a phenomenal book. There’s a lot for me to learn from Gary, about coaching as a profession, about turning a program around, and changing that mentality.”

As part of his efforts to boost the program, Barnett has agreed to join the field for the upcoming Cougar Classic, an annual golf tournament hosted by the Niwot Touchdown Club.

Founded by football parents in 2013, the Touchdown Club is a non-profit booster organization that helps the program with supplemental fundraising and other activities. 

This year’s 18-hole scramble tournament is slated for Aug. 3 at Twin Peaks golf course in Longmont, and all proceeds will go toward the purchase of new helmets* and shoulder pads, as well as other day-to-day needs of the team. 

“We have a huge need in our school to help and provide aid for players and their families,” Lanter said. “In the last two years the TD Club has provided scholarships for over 40 kids to attend football camp with the team.”

The Touchdown Club is looking for players, sponsors and volunteers for this family-friendly event, which kicks off with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Tournament entries are $350 per foursome or $100 per individual. All players receive an 18-hole round, riding cart, a buffet lunch, and a special gift bag at the end of the day.

There will also be a Hole-in-One Car contest, sponsored by Pollard Jeep. The first player to hit a hole-in-one during the Cougar Classic will drive home in a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, courtesy of the Boulder-based dealership.

Other sponsorship opportunities are available for as little as $200, and include custom tee box signage and recognition at the awards ceremony and in promotional materials. The Club will also accept direct cash donations, as well as donated prizes and gift certificates.

For more information about the Cougar Classic or to learn more about helping out the Niwot Touchdown Club, contact Kelley Matthews at 720-383-2680. To register for the tournament, go to http://www.niwottouchdown.org/sign-up/. The deadline for online registration is Monday, July 23.


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