Tee It Up for Cole Pittman
July 12, 2009
The Longhorn family came together on Saturday to remember Cole Pittman with the Tee It Up for Cole P. Golf Tournament at Falconhead Golf Club in Austin. Funds raised in Pittman's honor from the event, which was organized by former Longhorns B.J. Johnson, Chance Mock and Sloan Thomas, will be used to build a field house in his name at Evangel Christian Academy, Pittman's home church and high school in Shreveport, La.
"It's so wonderful to see former players that we've gotten so attached to, the Longhorn family, Mack and Sally," said Mr. Pittman. "When we lost Cole, that's how I survived was these boys calling me every night and telling me they loved me. After all this time, they're still remembering Cole, which is a testament of how special he is. These players have continued to honor Cole and his memory, so it's an emotional, bittersweet memory for us."
To kickoff the event, a representative from the Austin Mayor and City Council office offered a proclamation, which honored Longhorn fans, the Pittman family and Cole's teammates in celebrating his life and for supporting a community dear to Cole's heart in their efforts to raise funds for a field house at Evangel Christian Academy.
"This means everything in the world to me," said Cole's brother, Chase, who played for the Longhorns in 2003. "I played with these guys and my brother and to think that eight years later, his memory lives on with these guys, it means a whole lot to me and my family. I appreciate these guys taking the time out of their busy schedule to put something like this together."
The Cole Pittman Field House Fund was established in 2001 when Pittman, a sophomore who had played on defense in 23 games in two seasons at Texas, was killed in a tragic early-morning car accident as he was returning to school from his family's home.
"I'm so happy that the Texas football family is working hard to keep the Cole Pittman memory alive," said Texas head coach Mack Brown. "We have moved forward, but we will not move on. Cole was a special young man and we care dearly about his family. He not only changed mine and Sally's life forever, but he and his family did the same for many other players, coaches and fans."
One of the teammates Cole touched was Thomas, who decided, along with Johnson and Mock, to do something in his honor.
"We wanted to bring all the guys together to celebrate Cole Pittman," Thomas explained. "It's a celebration of Cole and it gives us a chance to give back to his family and raise money for his athletic fund.
"When he passed away, you could really see how the Longhorn family came together and this golf tournament is just another example. We've got a lot of great guys out here and they're all here for one reason, to celebrate Cole."
"We appreciate the Pittman family letting us do this," stated Mock. "We talked last year after there wasn't a tournament that we needed to bring this back to the players. As sad as a deal as it was, it was something that brought the fans and the players close together, so to have everyone here together for one cause, celebrating Cole's life, means so much."
"We're out here celebrating Cole," Young said. "It's about having fun, fellowship and reminiscing. The Longhorn family has come together. There are guys from all different eras out here, but we've built a bond. The Eyes of Texas are watching and we want to continue to do things like this that will benefit great people, and in this case, do it in Cole's name."
The golf tournament included a better-ball 18-hole round, dinner, a post-round award ceremony and a silent auction.
"This is a family," Redding added. "We're not just a team, a bunch of guys going out, hitting each other and entertaining fans, we're a family. We live together, we eat together, we do everything together. So, when we lost a family member, we didn't forget about him, we remember him. This is one way of doing it. There's a lot of hope, a lot of energy out here and we want to enjoy our time and fellowship together, and at the end of the day, see how much money we can raise for his building."