June 3, 2013
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah - The Utah Valley University basketball program and head coach Dick Hunsaker held the third annual Alumni Golf Outing on Monday at Talons Cove Golf Club.
Monday's event spurred a big turnout as players from every era of Utah Valley basketball was represented, including the program's first year of existence when the school was called Utah Technical College. That team started play in 1972-73 and included Tom Rasmussen, who played for coach Sam Little.
"This is incredible to see all these players," said Rasmussen, who has been employed by UVU since 1984. "I've been a big-time fan for years and it's great to see these guys come back; guys that played in the activity center and later moved over to the event center. To watch them come through and see them is wonderful."
"It's a lot of fun," said Mountain View High School product Ryan Cheesman, who played under Jeff Reinert from 1998-2000. "Time goes by fast and it's fun to come out and see guys from different eras. It would be great to keep this going and get more guys out each year."
The event was brought together in large part by Mike Christofferson and Garrett Mackay, who played for Hunsaker in 2002-03, the final season of junior college basketball for the program.
"It's great because going into the WAC it shows the progression of the program," Christofferson said. "It's nice to get the guys out and let them know they were a big part of helping the program get to where it's at. There's a lot of great history and a lot of great players that have come through here and it's fun to see them come out."
Other attendees included another pair of former teammates, Ken Sonnenberg and Phil Degraffenried, who played in 1993-94 and 1996-97 together. The two played for the late Duke Reid in their first seasons and Reinert following LDS missions.
"It's fun. Phil and I come each year and have a good time. I think joining the WAC is great. It will help recruiting and visibility and will help bring more fans out," Sonnenberg said.
"It's always important to include the past into the future," added Degraffenried. "I enjoy seeing people that I know. To see players from past eras is great and I would like to see even more of them come back."
Eight-year NBA veteran and Wolverine guard from 2002-05, Ronnie Price, was also at the event and was a member of the winning team.
"It's always fun to come back and catch up. It's like a family reunion. It's good to see how guys are doing, how their families are doing and to mingle and have some fun playing golf," Price said. "For me it's even cooler to see the guys that played before us."
"Our school is making strides that other schools can't make and in the amount of time we've made these strides is very impressive. Major Division I schools have a lot of support from alumni: people that stand behind their team and behind their school. As we continue to grow it's important that the alumni gets involved more and more."