Evan Scholars Shoulder More Than Just Golf Bags

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Reis Daily Herald Correspondent

If toting someone's golf clubs around for five hours or so doesn't seem like a stepping stone to a college education to you, perhaps you should stop reading now.

Or, more likely, perhaps you should continue on and see if your initial reaction changes.

The fact is, the Evans Scholars Foundation, sponsored by the Western Golf Association, administers the largest privately -funded college scholarship program in the nation.

Since 1930, when the first two scholars matriculated at Northwestern University, more than 7,000 outstanding young men and women have participated in the program.

Their common bond? All were caddies. And a lot more.

We're not talking about the misfits portrayed in the movie "Caddyshack." Age is the only similarity between the Evans Scholars and their film brethren.

"These young people have demonstrated their abilities and dedication both in the classroom and as caddies on the golf course," said Jim Moore, educational director of the Evans Scholars Foundation. "We are confident they will continue the tradition of academic excellence and campus involvement established by the 6,800 former caddies who have graduated as Evans Scholars."

Area names dot the Evans Scholars roster, including: University of Illinois students Matthew Brady (Mount Prospect), Christine Garrett (Barrington), Margaret Kielty (Arlington Heights) and Arnold and Tod Schneiderman (Buffalo Grove); Indiana University's Douglas Horton (Elgin); Marquette University's Matthew Henry (Schaumburg), Nora Kay Ryan (Barrington) and Mary Jo Schmitz (Mount Prospect); University of Missouri at Columbia's Lee Pinchouck (Wheeling); Northern Illinois University's Alexander Levin and Dmitry Livshis, both of Wheeling; Northwestern University's Bradley Horton (Elgin); Purdue's Bryant Crane (Schaumburg).

Eric Powell, general manager of Rolling Green Country Club, says the Evans program benefits not the student/caddy through scholarship awards and the clubs.

"The (Evans Scholars) have a history of being more than caddies," Powell said. "They are students who do exemplify some need and work as hard as anyone toward achieving a goal. More often than not, they're the ones who go above and beyond the call of duty."

Which seems appropriate, considering the legacy of the program's namesake.

Charles "Chick" Evans Jr. was born in Indianapolis on July 18, 1890. His family moved to Chicago's north side when he was three. Evans was introduced to golf as a caddie by the age of eight, which began an eight-decade association with golf.

Evans became the Tiger Woods of his era, in every way but financially. He won every title available to him in his era, including the Western Open (1910), the U.S. Open (1916), the U.S. Amateur in 1916 and again in 1920, and the Western Amateur eight times between 1909 and 1923.

He was awarded every honor a golfer can receive, including induction into each of the sport's halls of fame. Evans also golfed with six presidents, an accomplishment that escalates in importance when you realize that Franklin Roosevelt was in office for 12 of Evans' prime golfing years.

And, all this time, Evans used only seven hickory-shafted clubs. When he also won the U.S. Amateur later in 1916, he became the first to hold those two USGA titles in the same year, a feat since matched only by Bobby Jones. …