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Area Golf: 2010 team finds exciting way to give back to BHS football

Current Pittsburgh Steeler Joe Haeg puts his name on golf fundraiser.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears  11/08/21
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Joe Haeg (71) during a regular-season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Arron Anastasia / Pittsburgh Steelers

EAST GULL LAKE — Joe Haeg’s only been golfing for a few years, but he’s bringing his talents back to Brainerd.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman, former North Dakota State Univerity Bison and Brainerd Warrior collaborated with former high school teammates to create Joe Haeg’s “Game Winning Drive Golf Fundraiser” which will be1 p.m. Friday, July 1 at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.

The event, hosted by the Super Bowl champion, is a four-person scramble fundraiser that will benefit the Brainerd Warriors football program.

“We all wanted to give back,” Haeg said. “For me, if I lived in Brainerd, I would definitely want to get involved in coaching or find different ways to give back. Recently, I know they did a big fundraiser to get the new weight room approved. A bunch of us went back last summer and toured the room and saw it was kind of falling apart.

“We got together with a bunch of classmates and we made a group donation and we were also looking at other things that we could do to have a bigger impact. Thankfully my former teammates and I are still really close and we’re all in our different fields so we were all able to contribute to this tournament in different ways. Before we knew it, we put together a committee and all of a sudden it’s turned into a very cool event that I’m very excited about.”

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Haeg’s former teammate and tournament spokesperson Jesse Zahn echoed Haeg’s words about giving back saying it’s the 2010 team’s version of “The Warrior Way” and giving back to the community and program they enjoyed being a part of.

“Back when we were on the team in 2010 we were always excited when individuals would give time and energy to the actual program and to us,” Zahn said. “The tournament came to full throttle when (Brainerd head coach) Jason Freed told me there are only 13 seniors on the roster for this coming year. Numbers have been on the decline across the entire district and we have to stop that. Joe is obviously the most notable alumni from the program and a lot of us still stayed in contact with the coaches and program and wanted to give back.”

Joe Haeg of the Pittsburgh Steelers blocks in a game.
Former Brainerd Warrior Joe Haeg, No. 71, protects quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a game against Green Bay last season.
Burt Lauten / Pittsburgh Steelers PR<br/>

Border States Electric out of Fargo will be the tournament’s title sponsor and Zahn said there’s been an impressive turnout from Fargo for the event.

“Right now, about a week and a half ago we opened up sponsorship opportunities for all 18 holes,” Zahn said. “We were able to get a title sponsor so right now we’re locking in sponsorships for each hole. Within 72 hours we secured 10 or 11 hole sponsors, but also multiple second-teir sponsorships. A lot of area businesses who have ties to Warrior football signed up. Plus, now we’re just trying to get the word out about the tournament.”

The tournament committee will open registration Friday, April 1.

The tournament can hold 36 teams. The cost is $175 per golfer or $700 per team. The entry fee includes 18 holes of golf with a cart and use of the range. Lunch will be provided along with a ticket for the fundraising dinner following golf.

Tickets for just the dinner will be available, but the committee is working on how many tickets and the price for those.

At the dinner, there will be a silent auction, with NFL game tickets, experiences and memorabilia, golf packages, resort packages and more available to bid for.

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Haeg will also be hosting a meet and greet and he might not be the only one. While Haeg couldn’t confirm any current or former NFL or college teammates will be in attendance with him, he said he’s keeping that option open and hopes to convince more people to come and support the event.

Haeg himself is unsure if he’ll actively compete in the event or drive around and take pictures with each group.

“My golf game is interesting,” Haeg said. “I’ve only been golfing for two or three years, but I’ve been golfing a lot in that time. I think I’ve golfed maybe more than guys who have golfed for five or 10 years. My game is getting there. I have some good power, but some control issues with the driver I’m trying to hone in on right now.

Joe Haeg of the Pittsburgh Steelers blocks a San Diego Charger.
Former Brainerd Warrior Joe Haeg (No. 71) of the Pittsburgh Steelers blocks a San Diego Charger during a game last season.
Burt Lauten / Pittsburgh Steelers PR

“I have a great time. I think a lot of guys in the NFL love to get into golf not only for the camaraderie and the competitiveness in us, but it’s also kind of nice to have something else that you work at instead of always just football. It’s nice to be a beginner again at something.”

Zahn said having Haeg’s name on the event hopefully will draw the attention of young kids and parents to come out and participate, not only in the event but in the Brainerd football program as well.

“We’re so ecstatic,” Haeg added. “We want this to be, not just some little tournament where you pay your X amount of dollars, you participate and all the money goes to something. We want to make this into a full-day experience and really a high-level event that people want to come back to and something people talk about.

“At the end of the day, we just want to raise as much money as possible and if we can do that while also creating a great event and a good time, I think that’s the perfect formula.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

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