“It’s not a surprise,” Mike Lutzenkirchen said of the good turnout. “We’re from Chicago and you hear about Auburn, Ala., and Auburn University and you learn that this Auburn family motto is the real deal. 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.”
As one of the owners of the AU Club and also a close friend of Lutzenkirchen, Herring said he felt like they needed to do something to honor him and also help out in any way possible. That’s when he and Mike Lutzenkirchen got together about the idea for the golf tournament. With the club donating back all but a small portion of the $143.00 entry fee to cover food and cart expenses, Herring said there was never any hesitation about moving forward with the first of what he hopes is many of these tournaments to come.
“We had unbelievable support from the community,” Herring said. “Kim Evans did a phenomenal job. She rounded up gifts and signs and souvenirs as well as food from Chick-fil-A. Our staff here did what they could. It’s been unbelievable the support that has poured out and been shown to us.
“When the tragedy struck a few weeks ago my heart just broke for the family,” Herring added. “I knew his dad, met him briefly a few times. Being a part of that memorial and running into him there and talking to him briefly about a vision that Philip had putting something together the day of Brother Chette’s banquet and how excited he was about being the MC. I just told him right then and there to just let us know, that we’d be honored to be a part of it in any way we could.”
That got the ball rolling and when Chette Williams approached Mike about taking the place of Philip as the emcee of the FCA Banquet things just fell into place for the golf tournament to take place. Herring said the fact that they were able to get such a good turnout for the event on such short notice is a testament to Lutzenkirchen’s impact on the lives around him.
With former Auburn players such as Tom Bryan, Rusty Deen, Kendall Simmons, Tommy Trott, Andrew McCain, Gabe Gross, Jorrell Bostrom, Lee Ziemba, Ryan Shoemaker, Wesley Hill and Trent Fisher all taking part as well as current players such as Reese Dismukes and Mack VanGorder and former baseball player Bobby Huddleston, Herring said it was definitely a time for the Auburn family to step up.
“There’s a lot of tournaments we have out here and you’re pumping them up for six months and you don’t have 50-something golfers like we had today,” Herring said. “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.”
Thursday night will be another tough time for the Lutzenkirchen family as Mike takes the place of Philip at the FCA banquet in the Auburn Arena, something his son was so excited to be a part of before his passing. He said while it will be an emotional time it’s just another step he and his family have to take. Once again Philip will be right there beside him every step of the way.
“Philip was moderately involved with FCA through high school and eventually got stronger in it,” his dad 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.”