Lawrence family legacy honored by ASU wrestling at golf event

Years of generational contributions to the University, athletic department to be recognized

Hailing from Eloy, Arizona, Charles "Nap" Lawrence was torn between attending ASU or UA out of high school. However, given ASU's five-year dominance over UA in football in the late 1950s, his choice was an easy one.

"I said, 'no way I'm going south,'" Lawrence said.

Lawrence is the co-founder of ASU's President's Club, along with his wife, Barb, a fellow ASU alumna. Lawrence is also a lifetime member of the Sun Devil Club's Board of Directors.

Almost 60 years later, Lawrence and his family's continued commitment to the University will be honored by way of the inaugural Lawrence Family Sun Devil Wrestling Golf Classic on May 3 at the Ocotillo Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona.

The couple's two children, Spike and Vicki, have also become members of the ASU family through the years. Additionally, both are alumni and active givers through the President's Club, and Spike is the co-owner of the Ocotillo Golf Club.

ASU wrestling coach Zeke Jones, an ASU lifer himself and former schoolmate of Spike, recognizes the amount of allegiance and advocacy the Lawrence family has shown toward the athletic department for so many years. 

"(We're) honoring them for their continued legacy and family tradition in Sun Devil athletics," Jones said. "They've recently really got excited behind the wrestling program at ASU. Nap, Barb, Spike, Vicki have been tremendous and gracious givers of their time and their love and passion for athletics.

"You’ll see them in the front row of virtually every sporting event at ASU. When you think of Sun Devils, you think of (Barb and Nap) them."

When Lawrence got the call from Jones about the event, he was honored.

"It was a very sincere, enjoyable moment to even be considered for something like that, whether we deserve it or not, we certainly appreciate it," Lawrence said. "It’s the main reason that we work so hard, is to be able to give a little back and enjoy being involved in the academic and athletic activity at the school. We love it here."

The Lawrence-ASU connection has even reached a third generation in Cohlton Kieffer, the son of Vicki Lawrence and an ASU freshman majoring in political science.

Kieffer is looking to follow in his family's footsteps in Tempe, and his passion for ASU sports has helped land him a spot as a committee chair for the 942 Crew executive board and a student job with Sun Devil athletics.

"I never thought of going anywhere else," he said. "Every aspect of ASU just means so much. It's a huge part of the family. I knew coming in that I was going to have a lot of opportunities to succeed. It has exceeded my expectations."

Growing up in the Sun Devil culture, Kieffer has always seen how much the University means to his family. Like his grandfather, he's very appreciative that the school is returning the favor through the golf event.

"It’s a really good honor. They’ve given because we appreciate what ASU has done and we want to give back so it’s really nice to see that they appreciate it as well and will do stuff like this to honor our family," he said. "It goes both ways."

Supporters of Sun Devil Wrestling are encouraged to attend the inaugural event as food, awards and a raffle and auction will also be included. 100% of the event's proceeds will benefit the ASU wrestling program.

Although Jones will not hit a ball, he said the golf outing will also help connect the community to the wrestling team and understand the program's mission, which is to become the the best wrestling team in the country and the world.

"This is a way that people can be a part of it, out on the golf course celebrating a day of golf and fun," he said.

Kieffer, on the other hand, who played golf competitively in high school, is looking to come out on top.

"I’m in it to win it," he said. "I’m really eager to get back out on the course and put up some low scores."

Nap, who is approaching his 80s, may leave the golfing to his fellow ASU colleagues. However, he is hopeful the event will have a solid turn out. 

"I want it to be successful," he said. "I want a lot of friends to be there. I want it to be included in ASU’s portfolio."

It's no secret the Lawrence family and ASU have a special place in each others' hearts. With that legacy intact, Nap reflects on those contributions with great pride. 

He also hopes that loyalty and generosity will influence others to do the same for the university he so desperately loves.

"I think we not only have the best administration academic at ASU in the country," Nap said. "I think we have the best group of coaches and athletic department employees, basically fundraisers, that we’ve ever had."


Reach the reporter at kmgianco@asu.edu and follow @Kaleb_Mart on Twitter.

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