The Xavier Alumni Golf Classic was blessed with fine weather, a fabulous facility, eager volunteers, players from the various decades Xavier has been in existence, and a giving spirit.
Proceeds from the 2018 tournament, which go to financial aid for Xavier students, will be about $57,000.
That led to a bunch of smiles from co-chairmen Rich Feitel and Greg Jaskot, who worked hard on the planning and execution of the event for months. Beaming, too, was Director of Advancement Liz Whitty and Headmaster Dave Eustis.
"It was an astounding effort and results," Whitty said. "The amount raised will help boys who want to be here, need to be here, but otherwise could not be here. The generosity is overwhelming."
The event, a scramble format, was held at Portland Golf Course on Friday, Sept. 14. The foursome of Dan Deconti (2001), Dan's brother Nick ('07), father Chris and brother-in-law Rick Valletta won with a 58 on the par-71 course.
"My father, brother, and I have always been competitive people – doesn't matter what we were playing, so winning the tournament was fun, but for me the day isn't really about winning the tournament or the golf at all," Dan said. "For the me the day is about connecting with old friends and meeting new Xavier alums and sharing stories about the school. My brother, being an alum, knows the brotherhood of Xavier and the family-like atmosphere across all ages of alumni. I was glad my father and brother-in-law were able to get that same experience."
After the golfers finished, there was a buffet dinner as well as remarks from Eustis, who among other things thanked everyone for coming and the sponsors. Whitty had a special gift for Feitel, the former Xavier teacher, coach and alumni director who came back this year to co-chair the event.
Feitel recognized all the committee members, and praised Jaskot for all his work. Befitting a former teacher and coach, Feitel said he read committee members "the riot act," telling them they each needed to get $1,000 in sponsorships, a foursome of golfers and auction items "they'd personally like to win," the latter comment drawing laughter from the crowd.
The committee certainly listened to Feitel.
Early on, Feitel was stung by a bee, but that did not stop him from the task on hand, whether it was greeting people, roaming the course or helping with the set-up with auctions items, one of which was an autographed football by Patriots coach Bill Belichick that garnered a winning bid of $1,000 in the silent auction.
Various former football players were on the course, too, on a day where legendary Xavier coach Larry McHugh was honored. McHugh, the first football coach here whose teams were 152-36-6 from 1963-83, called Xavier the best high school in the country.
He also had high praise for Feitel, saying Feitel always has the Xavier spirit, heart, desire and dedication.
The theme of the day was all about having fun. Sure, the golfers wanted to hit their shots. But in the end, it was about reconnecting with the Xavier community and giving back.
"Once a Falcon, always a Falcon," McHugh said as the crowd cheered, adding that it has the best alumni in the country.