Teachers compete annually for “Ike” trophy

Jason Fieber

In 2012, Redwood teachers Mike Kelemen, William Crabtree, John Mattern, and Mike Dibley met in Bandon Dunes for a golf match, one that soon became the inaugural ‘Ike’ trophy competition.

Four competitions later, the rivalry is still going strong.

Crabtree now stands atop the ‘Ike’ standings as the sole two-time trophy winner. Kelemen and Mattern are tied with one win each and Dibley, who did not compete in the most recent match, remains winless.

The competition has not always been the impetus that drew the four together to play golf.

Dibley, Kelemen, Crabtree, and Mattern at the inaugural “Ike” competition in Bandon Dunes, Oregon in 2012. They have now played four matches and expect to play the fifth in early 2016.

Dibley, Kelemen, Crabtree, and Mattern at the inaugural “Ike” competition in Bandon Dunes, Oregon in 2012.

“We had played golf together before this,” Crabtree said. “We had this idea to go to Bandon Dunes and to make that competition for a trophy.”

The “Ike” trophy has a deeper history than one would expect.

The gold statue of a golf player mid-swing, which belonged to highly decorated United States colonel Ike Wintermuth, is now 64 years old. Wintermuth competed in golf matches during World War II representing one of the military branches, according to Dibley. Dibley bought the trophy after it was donated to a trophy store by Wintermuth’s son.

The competition moves every year, and the “Ike” has traveled with them to Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Monterey, the Richmond Country Club, and Windsor.

“Usually the Ike accompanies us to the matches, so there can be a trophy presentation on the 18th hole,” Kelemen said.

Each course brings back its own memories, usually fond memories, for that year’s victor.

“I sealed my victory on the eleventh hole at Bandon Dunes by holing out from a bunker with about a four-foot lip, on the other side of the cliff was the Pacific Ocean,” Crabtree said. “Bunker shot… Bam! In the hole!”

Other victories did not have a defining shot, but more of an unexpected win at the end of a long match.

“I won in Monterey because it was a par three on the seventeenth hole and I had been playing mediocre, but when it counted I made the putt and won,” Kelemen said of his victory.

The four said that the competition is definitely a rivalry thanks to the lively chatter between opponents.

“A little smack talk brings out the best in everyone,” Dibley said.

They said that the trash talk also continues after the matches are finished and the trophy has been awarded.

“It’s not really a rivalry until you actually win,” Kelemen said of Dibley, maintaining the tradition of smack talk.

When Mattern recorded his first victory he celebrated by playing music and parading through his opponents’ classrooms.

Crabtree responded with a similar performance after his victory.

“Last year when I won I had my kids parade through the music room going ‘Ike! Ike! Ike!’” Crabtree said.

The matches are becoming more intense as the teachers’ ambition for victory increases.

“The competition is getting heated up because I just fell on my face the last time we played,” Mattern said. “I have been at the range everyday.”

The future looks bright for upcoming “Ike” matches, as the competitors hope to improve their location to a U.S. Open course. They also hope to spice up the competition by adding new opponents to the mix, including principal David Sondheim.

“When Sondheim was at Drake he competed in a golf tournament every year,” Kelemen said.

Mattern, on the other hand, understands that Sondheim may not want to participate because of the quality of his opponents.

“He knows the competition,” Mattern said.