Indian Ink

61-Year-Old Recruited to Join College Golf Team

Adam Xiao, Senior National/School Sports Editor

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61-year-old Don Byers was recruited by Bellevue University golf team. He has since enrolled at the school and will begin competing on the team this spring.

“People said there’s no way I can do it,” Byers said. “When you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to try like hell to do it.”

Byers’ recruitment began during an event last fall, when he was paired with Bellevue head coach Rob Brown. Byers was playing a couple strokes under par, and Brown joked, “Man, I wish you had some eligibility left.”

The men laughed at this idea, but a few holes later Byers realized and revealed to Brown that he did in fact have eligibility left. He had attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha over 40 years ago on a baseball scholarship, but he quit school after an injury ended his career. Brown remained in touch with Byers in the weeks following their round.

“He kept bugging me,” Byers said. “As I later found out, he was recruiting me.”

Byers is eligible to play because Bellevue is an NAIA school, not an NCAA school, and thereby has different eligibility rules.

Byers wasn’t attracted to play for Bellevue just to be a good story or even earn the team some publicity, however. He’s there to help the team win championships.

“To be honest, I just see him the same as my other teammates,” Fernando Arzate, Bellevue’s top player, stated. “He’s 61, but it doesn’t matter. My teammates and I have talked about it, and we’re going to treat him equally. He’s a good golfer, but more importantly a really good person.”

“He hits it a long way, and he’s athletic,” Head Coach Brown said. “If he can handle our cross-fit training, he’ll be fine.”

Bellevue’s first match will be in Las Vegas this March.

Side Note: I was exposed to this story by last school year’s Editor-in-Chief and current Princeton University student Max Kim. This example will certainly serve as an inspiration to others and makes this quote, “Never give up on your dreams,” all the more realistic.

Don Byers has 3 grown children and is also a grandfather.

 

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61-Year-Old Recruited to Join College Golf Team