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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Above par fundraising skills save golf team for now

Published: April 24, 2009
Section: Sports

The Brandeis golf team managed to pull off the unexpected; they have pulled their program out from the brink of demise.

Back in January, Brandeis golf captain Aaron Hattenbach ’09 explained the stakes prior to the successful fundraising operation. “If we survive one year, we can continue on. If we can’t get through this one year, there is the likelihood Brandeis golf doesn’t exist for a decade. If you quit on it right now, what’s the likelihood that the school is going to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to the golf program?”

Nearly three months after being told that the golf team would be shut down, Coach Shipman along with Hattenbach, Lee Bloom ’10, Charlie Sachs ’11 and Athletics Director Sheryl Sousa announced Wednesday that the team had successfully raised the $22,000 dollars needed to keep the program running through next season. Athletics director Sheryl Sousa opened the conference.

“I had met with the team back in January and told them that unfortunately we were going to be suspending the program at the end of the season. And they rallied, took it upon themselves to raise the operating budget that we needed for next year which was $22,000. And really, the amount of character that they displayed as a team is just a testament I think to the Brandeis student athlete. Just to exemplify everything that we hope that our student athletes are going to be. Hard working, determined, passionate about their sport.”

“It was a team effort.” Team captain Aaron Hattenbach ’09 explained. “Ralph (Harary ’09) and I wrote this letter to the donors and we contacted “My Sports Dreams”. Everyone put forth an effort and it just shows that we can do more than this.”

“I was happy they were going to try.” Coach William Shipman explained when asked for his reaction to the beginnings of the fundraising effort. “ I wasn’t sure what the response would be but we’ve got enough big donations to give a core and all the smaller ones, family and friends accumulated…I’m very happy with the enthusiasm they all showed in doing it. Aaron was the spearhead. I wasn’t sure how quickly it could be done, they did it in an extraordinarily amount of time.”

The fundraising isn’t over for Brandeis golf as they now look to raise the funds to get the program endowed. That figure is considerably more difficult to reach: $250,000 but Sousa expressed hope that with economic recovery, the University would be able to endow the program. A big if to be sure.

“We’re trying to help them anyway we can.” Sousa said, “The fundraising hasn’t stopped. The team met their goal in a very short amount of time but the efforts are continuing so that now that next year is secure. We just gotta keep going with the momentum we have and as Aaron said, the goal would be to ultimately endow the program. “

With funding for next year set, the Judges can keep their focus for now on the regular season which Hattenbach admitted has been a struggle. In their last tournament, an April 21 date at the Worcester State Invitational, Brandeis finished in a tie for seventh out of 15 teams. Lee Bloom led the individual effort, tying for 17th amongst all golfers with an eight-over-par 79.

The Judges Golf team wraps up the season with the UAA Championships in Georgia from April 25-27.