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July 24, 2014

Lutz's legacy


AUBURN | It wasn't a surprise to Mike Lutzenkirchen but it was certainly appreciated. Just six days after announcing the event, more than 50 people turned out for Lutz's Legacy, a golf tournament honoring the memory of Mike's son, Philip Lutzenkirchen, and raising money for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"This Auburn family motto is the real deal," Mike said. "From Jay Jacobs showing up at our house the day we found out Philip passed away to six days here and Kim Evans and Will Herring putting this all together, it's unbelievable."

The tournament was held Thursday at Auburn University Club. The Lutzenkirchen family and a number of former Auburn players were in attendance including Gabe Gross, Kendall Simmons, Jorrell Bostrom, Andrew McCain, Lee Ziemba, Tommy Trott, Wesley Hill and Ryan Shoemaker.

"I thought it was a great turnout," AUC golf pro Tyler Andrews said. "I think we raised over $5,000 and every bit of that will go to the FCA. That's just based on what the golf revenue will bring. There were people that came in today while I was out playing that wrote checks for $100 just to donate to the FCA in Lutz's name."

The golf outing coincides with Thursday night's FCA 50th anniversary celebration, which will be held at the Auburn Arena. Philip was scheduled to emcee the event before his tragic death in a car accident June 29.

Mike has stepped in for his son and will host the fundraiser that will feature Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and team chaplain Chette Williams.

"Philip was moderately involved with FCA through high school and eventually got stronger in it," Mike said. "When he got down here, he'd tell me, 'Dad, I've gone to Chette in happy tears, sad tears, tears about studies, tears about girlfriends, tears about whatever.' So it's been a rock for him and FCA has meant a lot.

"Philip was just thrilled when Chette asked him to emcee the event. There's no book on how you deal with what we're going through but the Lord said to me Phillip would probably be happy if stepped up and tried to emcee it. Chette honored me with that opportunity so I'm looking forward to tonight. There will probably be some tears but it's a celebration of the FCA event, 50th year on campus and a big thing for Philip."

Herring, one of the owners of AUC, and Auburn women's golf coach Kim Evans were instrumental in organizing the golf fundraiser.

"We had unbelievable support from the community," Herring said. "Kim Evans did a phenomenal job. She rounded gifts and signs and souvenirs. Our staff here did what they could. It's been unbelievable the support that has poured out and been shown to us.

"...I think it's a testament to Philip and what he did and what he means to the people he touched and who he was as a person."

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