Lasting wildcat legacy

The Brad Heyka Memorial Golf Tournament and scholarships help students succeed while honoring a great Wildcat.

Brad Heyka always lit up any place he was in. From his love of golf and K-State football to his countless memories with his TKE fraternity brothers, Brad was never one to turn down a good time. “Brad was lucky in that he was able to pull good grades without having to put much into studying,” said Liz (Heyka) Blakely, Brad’s mother. “This left him a lot of extra time to enjoy all things K-State. Brad loved bonding with his fraternity brothers over their passion for K-State sports. Some of my most treasured memories are of the many times I hosted him and his friends overnight at our house on their way to an away game for K-State football.”

Brad graduated from K-State in 1995 with a degree in finance. “This degree allowed Brad to gain employment at Koch Industries in Wichita, where he advanced quickly in their finance department,” said Liz.

Upon Brad’s untimely death in 2000, his family wanted to honor him by bringing people together through his biggest passions. Thus, the Brad Heyka Memorial golf tournament was created in 2001. “The reason this annual golf tournament … has continued its tradition every year at Colbert Hills, was the decision made by our family and Brad’s close fraternity brothers and golfing friends who wanted a way to celebrate Brad’s life; his passion for KSU and especially football program, as well as his deep passion for golf,” said Liz.

“Colbert Hills was Brad’s favorite golf course. The first tournament was such a success with over 100 golfers. We knew we wanted to continue this tradition,” Liz said. “K-State also asked our family if we wanted to contribute to the development of the Colbert Hills golf course. There is a large stone at Colbert Hills’ practice green honoring Brad and his devotion to playing golf while enjoying life with family and friends.”

As the Brad Heyka Memorial Golf Tournament continued to grow, so did the opportunity for Brad’s family to honor him by helping future generations of K-State students through a scholarship. “Brad truly loved K-State, and we knew that Brad would want his legacy to live on through helping others,” said Liz.

“The first few years of the golf tournament, we could only offer a few small scholarships. Now we are so proud that there are 12-15 scholarships offered in range from $500 – $1500, and the momentum for this tournament just continues to grow more scholarship opportunities.”

October 15, 2021, marks the 20th and final Brad Heyka Memorial golf tournament.

Brad Heyka’s legacy will forever be etched as the personification of what a K-State Wildcat could be — someone who gives back, pursues their passions and brings joy to those around them.

To support the Brad Heyka scholarship visit:

To play in the 20th and final Brad Heyka Memorial golf tournament visit:

By James Dalton Burton

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