Dutch Cragun still has his University of Minnesota swimming "Numerals" sweater from 1954.
He never earned an "M" but Cragun remains a supportive Gopher alumnus.
With the economic troubles that have befallen the Gophers' athletic program, talk of eliminating men's and women's golf and men's gymnastics didn't sit well with the Brainerd area resort owner.
"It was really a sad day," said Cragun. "I wasn't much of an athlete myself and I only got through my freshman year on the swimming team.
"I grew up loving the university. My dad and mother both went to the university. This is a chance to pay back to the sport I never participated in but love."
To combat the monetary problems, Cragun is hosting a "Save Gopher Sports" golf outing Sunday at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's Resort.
In attendance, will be men's golf coach Brad James and his players.
Last spring, the Gophers won the Big Ten championship for the first time in 30 years. They finished the Cinderella story by roaring back from 16th place to capture the NCAA title.
"Right now we're getting ready for next year," said James. "We're trying to get the kids focused on next year.
"What's done is done. Now we have to do it again."
Winning conference and NCAA titles has helped diminish talk of eliminating both golf programs. But the money still isn't there so James and other coaches must raise funds for their sports.
James said 80 percent of his time is spent fund raising, which has hindered his recruiting. He said the question of whether he will have a team in five years is still a major concern for parents and recruits.
"Once that money has been raised it's going to make recruiting easier," said James. "There is still concern with raising money, but there's a lot more interest now. Approaching companies and individuals for money is a lot easier now that we've proven ourselves."
On June 17, James was hired as the Gophers' head golf coach, the sixth in school history. He replaced John Means last September on an interim basis.
James owns one of the top resumes in college golf. Since taking an assistant position with Minnesota in 1997, the Gophers have qualified for the NCAAs the last five years, won the 1999 NCAA Central Regional title and have had eight players earn All-America honors.
James, a native of Australia, is regarded as one of the top young golf instructors in the country.
That's why the itinerary for the "Save Gopher Sports" outing includes an hour clinic with James and Gophers players at 11:45 a.m.
The golf scramble begins at 1 p.m. followed by a reception and social hour at 5 p.m. and banquet and auction at 7 p.m.
Cost of the golf outing and dinner is $200 per person. Non-golfers may attend the reception and dinner at the Legacy Clubhouse for $50. Some of the contribution is tax deductible.
"Events like Cragun's are so helpful," said James. "Things like this go a long way. My hat's off to Dutch for hosting this and allowing us to use his golf course."
Also scheduled to be in attendance are Gophers men's head hockey coach Don Lucia, Doug Woog, Chip Lohmiller, Greg Larson and a host of former and current Gopher hockey and football players.
"James tells a good story," said Cragun. "It's a real tale of how those guys won the national title.
"Billy Bye, who played for the Gophers' football team from 1946-49 is coming. Max "Buzz" Ruttger was the student manager with Bruce Smith and the 1940 national championship football team. He's coming over to the banquet."
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