COLUMBUS — The Huskers seem to have taken a liking to Columbus.
Coaches and former players from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln returned to Elks Country Club Wednesday for the 2011 Husker Legends Golf Outing. It was the third consecutive year that the Huskers came to town for the event.
“We enjoy coming out here. It’s the start of a little bit of a vacation for us coaches,” Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini said. “We finished up camps, and we get to come out here. It’s kind of a good will thing. We enjoy being a part of it.”
Pelini was just one of many visitors who hit the links. Husker Legends event director Roger Brown said 175 people registered to play. They included most of Pelini’s football staff, coaches of other Nebraska sports, former players and fans from the Columbus area.
Some of the notable Huskers on hand were Ndamukong Suh and Dominic Raiola, of the Detroit Lions, Olympic gold medal-winning bobsledder Curtis Tomasevicz, former NFL star Neil Smith and former NBA star Eric Piatkowski.
After the golf outing, the Huskers traveled to the New World Inn for a dinner, where more than 1,000 tickets were sold. Brown said the event gave fans a rare opportunity to interact with a number of Nebraska personalities.
“They love coming here,” he said. “This is the only event that (Pelini) lets his whole staff come to. We had a great group of golfers here, and we sold out the dinner.”
The golf outing wasn’t just fun for the fans. It gave the players an opportunity to catch up with old teammates and coaches.
Tomasevicz, a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team that won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, attended the golf outing last year, and he was excited to come back this year.
“It’s a pretty good time. I get to see some old teammates, some coaches and quite a few local Husker fans,” he said. “More than anything, it’s a lot of fun. (Columbus) is a great place to do it.”
A Shelby native, Tomasevicz said it was nice to see the event hosted close to his hometown.
“I grew up about 15 miles down the road to the south,” he said. “I definitely consider this my home area, so they’re coming to my turf in a sense.”
The Husker Legends event first came to Columbus in 2009, and the success of the event has kept the Huskers coming back. UNL decides where the event will be held, but Pelini said he enjoys coming to Columbus, and hopes the golf outing will become an annual event.
“We spend a lot of time in Lincoln and Omaha. It’s nice to get to a different part of the state and come back to Columbus,” he said. “We had a good event a couple years ago, so we decided to keep it going. We’ll probably move it around a little bit, but we enjoy it here in Columbus. It’s been a good event. We’re looking forward to keeping it going.”