Charities receive more than $23K from KBM golf tournament

Family and friends who were the closest to Charles Knight imagine that even shooting a hole-in-one would not have pleased him more than the success of a golf tournament in his memory that raised more than $23,000 for charity.

The bulk of the proceeds from the 6th Annual Charles Knight Memorial KBM Invitational Golf Tournament, held for the first time at the Cookeville Country Club, was designated to Tennessee Tech University. TTU, the alma mater of Portland, Tenn., natives Knight and his two brothers, Jim and Danny, received more than $18,000.

"My sister-in-law summed it up the best when she said the quality of golfers in this event would have made my brother proud," said Jim Knight. "We had several golfers shoot in the 50s, and even the team of three TTU students who had never played golf before shot in the 70s."

Seventy golfers, who played and enjoyed lunch courtesy of KBM, vied for prize money in different competitions. KBM, a government contractor and manufacturer founded by Charles, Jim, and his wife, Sherry, contributed all prize money to the charity of choice for each golfer in the name of each of those golfers. Players were recruited by Frank Harrell, TTU associate athletic director, and by TTU's College of Engineering, where each of the three brothers earned a degree.

Charles, an international expert in finite analysis and published author, was an avid and talented golfer. Jim, who remembers saving Top Value stamps and trading them in for a club in his college days, said the family's focus on golf came through Charles' involvement after he began teaching at Virginia Tech.

Several players with TTU connections made the event extra special, said Knight. Former University of Kentucky standout and current TTU assistant basketball coach Saul Smith signed autographs. Julio Freire, assistant athletic director for development, lead the rookie student team. College of Engineering Dean Emeritus James Seay Brown also came to honor his former student. TTU President Bob Bell "threw out" the first tee to begin play.

"The support from TTU was even better than expected, and the Cookeville Country Club treated us really well and helped us donate even more money to our charities," said Danny Knight, KBM vice president and tournament organizer.

In an additional act of generosity, KBM also established two $10,000 TTU endowments, one in memory of Charles and the other in honor of the Knight's parents, Christine and the late Eugene Knight.
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