TAMPA — It’s a long way from Happy Valley, Pa., to Northwest Tampa, but the distance doesn’t seem too far for a group of Penn State football fans and golfers who are looking to “restore the roar.”
Penn State’s recent football problems have been well documented. Longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison and coaching legend Joe Paterno was forced out along with several university leaders.
The team was basically placed in an NCAA version of a “time out” and is only now starting to recoup from sanctions.
That has not stopped some Penn State fans in Tampa who haven’t given up on the program and the academic standard it has always upheld.
On Saturday, The Eagles Golf Club in Odessa will host the second annual “Big 10 Golf Outing.” Tee time is at 9 a.m. followed by lunch and awards. Cost is $59 and includes golf, drink tickets and a buffet lunch. It might not be the same as game day in Happy Valley, but there will be a 2 p.m. tailgate for $20.
Although Penn State is running the show, it is an event for all 14 schools in the Big 10. It will be run by Chuck Wall and the Florida Suncoast Chapter of the Penn State boosters club. Wall is on the board of directors of the Penn State Suncoast Chapter. He put on the first event last year and there was a good crowd, even though the Eagles were undergoing some serious changes for the better.
Michelle Reagan is a sales executive for The Eagles and also a proud Penn State alumnus. She hopes more Big 10 alumni show up this year even if they aren’t from Penn State.
“We have gotten a great response from a lot of the Big 10 schools,” Reagan said. “It’s going to be a great event and it’s fun to have all the schools getting together.”
Reagan said that restoring the roar is what it’s all about. The Nittany Lions draw more than 100,000 for their home games in Central Pennsylvania and, despite all of the controversy, the fan base has not diminished.
“It is hard,” Reagan said. “Penn State has gone through some tough years. First we were angry, then there was sadness, and then there was pride.
“The students and alumni pulled together and I wouldn’t trade anything for my Penn State diploma.”
The Penn State Invitational Golf Tourney will be held Saturday. Call (813) 920-6681.