Micah Friez 2023 square

By Micah Friez

Published 3:38 p.m. on June 27, 2024

Gordy Skaar loved basketball. And he loved Bemidji.

So he certainly would have enjoyed rooting for Isaac Severts.

Severts, a Bemidji native and a member of the Bemidji State men’s basketball team, is the most recent recipient of the Gordy Skaar Memorial Athletic Scholarship. And he spent Friday, June 21, out at the Bemidji Town and Country Club for the 47th annual Gordy Skaar Memorial Golf Tournament, interacting with Beaver Athletic supporters who are just as passionate as the fundraiser’s namesake.

“It’s awesome to see them, honestly,” Severts said. “There are so many people around here, and they’re all here to support BSU. When you see that you have community support, it builds confidence in yourself. I think it does a ton for us.”

Ever since 1983, the Skaar scholarship has been awarded to an incoming freshman or transfer student from northern Minnesota who will be participating on a Division II men’s athletic team. Severts is the first Bemidji High School product to play for the BSU men’s basketball team since 2003, making him the perfect fit for a scholarship that Gordy would have been proud to award himself.

“I knew I could play here for four years and enjoy myself,” Severts said. “I think it’s pretty cool because no one else has done it in a long time. I hope more kids can see that and strive to play college basketball here.”

At the tournament, Severts represented the impact communal support has on all of Beaver Athletics. This year, 154 participants – plus even more fans who didn’t golf – joined forces to raise $53,000 for athletic scholarships and the Skaar endowment.

“The Skaar symbolizes the power of what the BSU community can do to support our student-athletes,” said Jesse Katz, the Alumni & Foundation’s director of athletic giving. “For 47 years, this event has been a staple of the Bemidji State community as a primary opportunity for alumni and community members to support Beaver Athletics, and they continue to show up for our student-athletes.”

Nate Bergherr, Bill Erickson, Ryan Erickson, Cole Glass and Matt Valentine comprised the winning team, beating out 31 others to claim top honors at the event. But between every chip-in eagle and perfect birdie putt, the focus remained on advancing Bemidji State forward.

“I’m just really thankful that I have the opportunity to get a scholarship. It makes a huge difference,” Severts said. “I love it here, and people really care about BSU Athletics. Because of that, it’s really enjoyable playing here and still being here.”

As the Gordy Skaar Memorial Golf Tournament nears the half-century mark, its impact continues to grow. Since its inception in 1977, the event has raised more than $950,000 for Beaver Athletics through a dedicated fan base that shows up on more than just game days.

“The excitement around Beaver Athletics has never been higher,” Katz said. “It’s evident by attendance at games and also at events like the Gordy Skaar. We ask our community to show up and support our student-athletes in a different way than cheering them on from the bleachers, and they do. Bemidji bleeds green and white, and it cares deeply about the success of our student-athletes on and off the field.”

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