Friends and family of Nicky Cumberland, who died last fall from injuries sustained in a car accident on the way home from a Texas Cowboys retreat, gathered Sunday at the Morris Williams Golf Course for the first annual Nicky Cumberland Classic, an event dedicated to his life and to future recipients of the Nicholas Antonio Cumberland Scholarship.
Teams from 16 fraternities and student organizations competed in a golf tournament organized by students. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Nicholas Antonio Cumberland Fund, a McCombs scholarship intended to honor students who are found to share Cumberland’s values by being outgoing, loving and serving their community, said event co-organizer Noah Trapolino.
“We wanted to make an event to honor Nicky, who passed away last semester, and we wanted it to be something that would be wide reaching within the Greek community … because he was very active and well-known,” said Trapolino, a finance sophomore. “And (a lot) of people in Greek life like to play golf.”
Tau Chapter of Kappa Sigma, a fraternity Cumberland was a member of, participated in the tournament. In addition to being a member of Texas Cheer, Young Life and the Texas Cowboys, Cumberland was also a committee member of Genesis, Chase the World and the Student Consulting Initiative.
“Every time someone dies … everyone (says), ‘Oh, he was the most amazing person ever, he blessed our lives,’” Trapolino said. “But Nicky actually was like that. He was someone who had this constant energy about him in a not annoying way … it was the most genuine energy I think I’ve ever seen.”
Trapolino, who is a member of the Tau Chapter of Kappa Sigma, said he joined the fraternity largely because of Cumberland, who he met as a pledge.
Many of the spectators attending the event knew Cumberland from before his time at UT.
“Nicky was my older brother’s best friend,” spectator Sofia Antillon said. “They met … their freshman year of high school … Nicky had been like an other brother to me ever since. We came to support (the event), and I came to support my brother too.”
The winning team, Beta Upsilon Chi, took home a trophy and a plaque after earning a score of -18.
“This tournament is about … honoring (Nicky’s) legacy, honoring the current students at UT who were close to him and giving them an environment to remember him in a great way and then honoring future students with the scholarship fund,” said Charlie Howell, a Beta Upsilon Chi member and accounting junior.