Inaugural UT Tyler baseball fundraiser lauded as a success

Thursday, August 18, 2016
by Danny Elzner || Contact delzner@uttyler.edu to learn how you can help support UT Tyler Athletics

WACO – The inaugural UT Tyler Baseball Alumni Golf Tournament was held August 12th at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco. Fifty-six former Patriot players and boosters braved 105-degree weather to raise money for the UT Tyler baseball program.

“It was the hottest day in Waco history,” Kevin Noles said.  “It was awesome.”

Noles played for former coach James Vilade on the first UT Tyler baseball team in 2004.  He was All-Conference and All-Region in 2005 and he came in from Lubbock to take part in this event.

“Coach Vilade always said you can only control how hard you work and how much you care,” Noles said.

The former Patriots care a lot.  They raised $3,000 for the UT Tyler baseball program and $2,000 for former teammate Trent Goree and his family.

Trent’s six-year-old daughter, Emma, underwent major surgery earlier this year.  She had a right frontal lobectomy April 19 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

“She’s doing wonderfully,” Goree said.  She had been seizure free for 79 days.”

Emma is doing so well that she was able to travel to Waco and visit with her father’s Patriot family.  She will celebrate her seventh birthday Saturday and she will start first grade Monday.

The tournament was played in memory of Issac Tijerina who passed away from cancer May 26.  He was 24-years-old.  The UT Tyler Baseball team will honor Issac and his legacy each season with the presentation of the Issac Tijerina Award which was introduced in April of 2016.  

“He was a true Patriot,” said former teammate and best friend E. H. Amand IV.  “The best thing we can do is what he did, fight every day and stay strong.”

Chris Goss stayed strong while organizing this first-ever event.  He started Elysian Cryotherapy in December, married Madison Goss in March and hosted the UT Tyler Baseball Alumni Golf Tournament in August.

“It was crazy,” Goss said.  “It was worth it.”

Madison urged Chris to put on the tournament this year.  His father Grant and his mother Karen also helped.

“It was very special to all of us,” Goss added.

It was special to new UT Tyler baseball coach Brent Porche.  He is in the process of moving from Alexandria, Louisiana to Tyler, but he put those plans on hold to visit with former Patriot players in Waco.

“This is amazing,” Porche told the former players.  “You put in a lot of hard work and we’re going to work our tails off to make you proud.”

Porche brought his five-year-old son Braiden with him.  That day, the new coach drove from Tyler to Waco to Alexandria, 446 miles.

“The fact that Coach Porche came out speaks volumes about what kind of guy he is,” Noles said.

The fact that so many former players came out speaks volumes about the Patriot baseball program.