Jack Jarrett gave Steve Coldren a view of how important then Manchester College can be to an individual.
"We had a couple of winning seasons (playing for him), but he spent (18 years) as head coach and his overall record was below .500," he reflected. "For Coach, it was more than just wins and losses … the relationships he built with his players, the college and even the community was so important. I'm sure that's what kept him going through some tough times."
Thirty-plus-years removed from his college experience along the banks of the Eel River and in North Manchester, Ind., Coldren, like many of his classmates and other alumni, have a crystal-clear vision of that type of connection with Manchester University.
"No matter where I've been through my travels with my business and now living in Florida, I always have a special date marked out on the calendar," he admitted. "The Friends of Manchester golf outing is something I look forward. We have a group that I grew up with in Portland, Ind. (Tom Koegel, Jerry Abbott and Jeff Hastings) that has played in nearly all of the past 18 outings together.
"As you get older, the years seem to go faster," he added. "We've had careers in several places and keep busy, so it would be easy to say I'll just donate and not go, but we've made this part (of our year). It is that important, not just for me, but for the others. The lone time I missed since 1998, due to a bout with cancer, I made sure to get a foursome booked for some friends of mine … keep the tradition going. They even finished first."
Steve's story with the golf outing does not end with himself. His brother, John, and several of his nephews and family members have been involved whether it be playing or in support of the event. That includes two nieces married to Director of Athletics and head baseball coach Rick Espeset and former football and baseball standout Brandon Baker.
"We make it a family gathering of sorts (around the golf outing)," he noted. "I take a couple of days before and visit with family and then we have great fellowship in Auburn. Manchester is a school that has always been concerned about its students … more so than just getting people there. My experience there helped me get into coaching and teaching because of what Coach Jarrett did and the respect he gained despite his record.
"(The outing) is one of the best ways to spend a few hours with people you spent four years with," he added. "It's a lot like Manchester University … more about being there and in the moment. It's done for the joy of being together."