By Rob Kiser
The late Dick Minnich touched the lives of almost everyone he knew in Covington.
Anyone who ever met Dick probably was the beneficiary of something from the man who just enjoyed helping others.
And while he was not so much a golfer, he is undoubtedly looking down smiling on what the Dick Minnich Charity Classic has accomplished over the last 29 years for the community and students of Covington.
“The tournament has run for 30 years and raised over $116,000 because of the people who support it,” current tournament manager Andy Johnson said. “We have great sponsors who donate every year. We have a great core of people who play in the tournament every year.
“They mark the date a year in advance, and they look forward to playing all summer. When new teams join us, they tell me after the dinner how much fun they had, and they are definitely coming back. We don’t always have the large numbers that some scrambles have, but that’s OK.”
Amazingly, when the tournament was started, golf scrambles were just in their infancy.
So, Shelby Oaks golf pro Rob Fridley had to be convinced to even hold the event.
“Early in 1989, Dad (the late Scott Johnson) Jay Meyer, and a few other Optimist members created the Dick Minnich Charity Golf Classic and started calling golf courses,” Andy Johnson said. “Nobody would give them a weekend day to have it, and the only pro they talked with that seemed even luke warm to the idea was Rob Fridley at Shelby Oaks. Back in 1989 golf courses were pretty busy, and they viewed scrambles as a pain. Rob made them promise to have 80 golfers and if they didn’t they would have to pay for 80…they had 84.”
The tournament grew from there and will continue again this year. It surpassed 100 golfers in the late 1990s and reached 200 golfers at one point.
This year’s event will be held Aug. 7 at Shelby Oaks with an 11 a.m. shotgun start.
For more information, go to the Dick Minnich Classic page on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org
“That’s OK (that the numbers for the tournament are not always large),” Johnson said. “The foundation the tournament was built upon Dad and Jay’s belief of fun, fellowship and charity, and we can do that regardless of how many golfers show up.”
Andy Johnson eventually began helping Jay Meyer with the tournament in 2003 the year after his father’s passing, before taking it over several years ago.
“I’m proud to oversee the successful tournament he (Scott Johnson) helped start and run all those years,” Andy Johnson said. “Dad was constantly looking for ways to help make Covington a better place, and to give the people living there a chance to reach their full potential.
“In honoring the memory of a great community leader, he found a way to do both. It’s my job to make sure that idea lives on through the Dick Minnich Classic.”
Which is exactly what Dick Minnich would have wanted.
“I think Dick would be honored that a tournament bearing his name has lasted for 30 years, and has so many people involved, including many who knew him personally,” Andy Johnson said. ” I also believe he would be proud because many Covington students have benefited from the tournament through college scholarships or other youth organizations in the community.”
Which is putting a smile on Minnich’s face as he looks down from above.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.