The Buc Open was not the same this year. It couldn't be; two of its most important figures were missing.
Friday's event, which raises funds for the Grand Haven athletic department at the Grand Haven Golf Club, took on a different tone before its sendoff, as the participants honored athletic director Robin Bye and basketball coach Steve Hewitt.
Bye died in April from cancer, while Hewitt collapsed while jogging on Tuesday.
"Both of these men are well-respected and have contributed so much to our school and community," said Grand Haven High School Principal Tracy Wilson. "They've touched the lives of so many students and athletes, and are two of the best male role models I can think of. On a personal note, none of my boys have hit the high school yet, and they won't be able to lay their hand on and touch their hearts. And that's difficult."
Flanking Wilson were widows Kate Hewitt and Kathy Bye, with several family members behind them. Ordained pastor and Grand Haven science teacher Scott "Big Stan" Stanley said a prayer, before a moment of silence, in which bagpiper David Dwyer played.
The event, which drew about 36 foursomes, was up more than $5,000 from last year in sponsorships.
"I think you can feel a sense of community out here," said organizer and former athletic director Jack Provencal. "It isn't just a golf outing. There are people here, obviously to play golf, but paying tribute to some pretty remarkable people.
"Of course Robin Bye, as an athletic director, was responsible for this. Also, Steve Hewitt. I heard some of the comments. They're just remarkable human beings. They were good guys and good coaches and all that stuff, but they were just quality human beings. They took care of people. They were not prideful. They were just the genuine article."
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