Don January tourney notes, other tidbits, recruiting notes

One of the landmark events of the UNT sports calendar took place today. The Don January golf tournament draws some of the greats in the history of the program to Trophy Club every year and raises quite a bit of money for the athletic department.

The list of legends in attendance this year included Hall of Famers Jordan Case, Patrick Cobbs, C. Dan Smith and Scott Hall.

And of course, Don January was there as well. January is one of the true treasures in UNT athletic department history. January led UNT to four straight NCAA golf titles beginning in 1949, went on to a standout professional golf career and never forgot his alma mater.

January’s grandsons Cody and Sean both went to UNT and played sports. Cody competed on the track team, while Sean played football. The pair represents the third generation of the family to graduate from UNT.

January has been around UNT athletics so long, he started out at a time when he had to teach golf for the P.E. department to cover his expenses while he was helping UNT win national titles.

And he’s still at it, helping out where he can and headlining one of UNT’s key fundraisers every year.

January spoke a little today about how he feels like his connection to the school is fading a little bit. He even threw out the idea that UNT ought to change the name of the event and let someone else be the headliner.

There’s no chance that will ever happen. Don January means too much to UNT, even though he credited everyone else for making the event what it is — and make no mistake, the school’s athletic department does a fine job.

“Hank and his crew do such a good job,” January said of UNT deputy athletic director Hank Dickenson. “For a while I had a couple of grand kids up here. One played football and the other track. Sean got out a a year ago and then Cody graduated. Their father graduated from here and so did my wife and I. We have a lot of history here.”

It grew just a little more today. About 200 golfers participated in the event overall, even though UNT’s football and basketball coaches who are usually the headliners of the event were all on the road recruiting.

No matter who is there, January is one of the most respected people at the event.

“It’s for a great cause,” January said. “Anything I can do to support the golfers is great.”

January has done plenty. Hopefully he will be around for years to come at the annual golf event so people can remind him just how much he has meant to UNT.

And in other news at UNT …

Offensive lineman Beau Hott, was the first player I wrote about in my ongoing UNT recruiting target series that will continue tomorrow has been offered by Oregon State.

Hott’s recruitment has now turned into one of those classic battles that UNT hasn’t won often in the past and would like to win more in the future — UNT vs. school from a big-time conference.

Oregon State is going to sell Hott on playing at USC and in the Civil War against Oregon and the Pac-12 in general. UNT has an improving program, the fact it is coming off a bowl win and the “Mom Card” — that old ally of being close to home.

Stay tuned.

On the golf front, the UNT men have fallen into a tie for eighth place with UTEP in the Conference USA tournament, 25 shots behind Tulsa heading into the final round.

Here’s the cold, hard truth — UNT is toast. It’s going to be next to impossible to make up that margin in the final round, not to mention jump seven teams to win it.

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