The annual SFU golf fundraising tournament is going to look a little different this time around. It has a new namesake, too. This year, the tournament has been renamed and reformatted to honour former coach John Buchanan, who passed away in January. The Buchanan Classic will be held on April 10 at the Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam, BC. Open to the public, the tournament includes shotgun start, on-course contests, and a hole-in-one challenge presented by Open Road Audi — hit a hole in one, win a car.
Previously known as the Clan Classic, this fundraising tournament has been on golf fans’ calendars for roughly a decade. “This was coach Buchanan’s big event each year. He would reach out to his network and you’d see alumni coming out or you’d see members from the Vancouver Golf Club out there,” said Matthew Steinbach, who took over the golf program.
2017 has undoubtedly been an emotional year for everyone involved in SFU athletics. The new year opened on a somber note with the passing of Buchanan, a man essentially synonymous with the program. “He’s a legend at SFU,” said Steinbach. “This will be an opportunity, not only this year, but years going forward, to honour and remember coach Buchanan.”
A charter member of the SFU Athletic Hall of Fame, Buchanan was a part of the SFU community for five decades. He arrived at the university in 1966, taking a role as facilities manager. Most remember him, however, for his role with the soccer and golf programs. The Buchanan-founded SFU Clan soccer program gained varsity status in the mid 1970s and went on to win an NAIA Championship, among other distinguished accolades.
His passion for athletics also carried onto the golf course, bringing the sport to SFU in the 1980s. His oversight saw the team make 11 regional championships. Buchanan-coached teams paired a second place in the NAIA Nationals in 1999 with a fifth-place finish in the 2015 NCAA Championship.
Steinbach, a former captain of Clan golf, noticed an increase in alumni wishing to participate. “They want to be there, they want to help, and they want to reconnect with the Clan and with SFU. That’s all because of coach Buchanan.” As said in the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” A large turnout is expected to honour Buchanan, a man vital in building SFU golf. For more info or to register, head to the SFU golf webpage. The event takes place April 10.