Less than a month after the idea of naming a Regions Bank Amateur Series trophy after longtime benefactor Boone Knox took shape, it became a reality.
Last week, the ailing Knox was presented the 22-inch tall Boone Knox Cup in appreciation of his support of the amateur golf series, which Regions Bank took over in 1999. Knox had been the chairman of the board and CEO of Allied Bank, which later became Regions Bank.
"We acted pretty quick; as quick as we could," said Richard Fairey, the regional president for Regions Bank.
The inscription on the trophy read: "Dedicated to a community legend and friend of golf."
"He was more pleased about it because it was coming from the players themselves than anything," Fairey said.
A smaller replica of the trophy Knox received will be presented each year to the regular and senior division players of the year in the 10-tournament series. They will each be called the Boone Knox Cup, and the players will be able to keep them.
The inaugural awards will be presented in September at the Regions Cup Matches at Belle Meade Country Club in Thomson.
One idea had been for the Regions Cup, which goes to the winning state (Georgia or South Carolina) in the season-ending Regions Cup Matches, be named the Boone Knox Cup. Instead, the Boone Knox Cup will go to the players of the year and the teams will still be playing for the Regions Cup.
"For me, the prestigious award is not what state wins the Regions Cup, it's the player of the year," said Regions Bank Amateur Series executive director Gregg Hemann.
Fairey has said the bank plans to continue to sponsor the series. If it ever does step aside, Hemann said the 'Cup' will be named for the new sponsor, but the player of the year awards will always be known as the Boone Knox Cup.
"It's a very fitting thing," said longtime Regions series participant Glen Hurt, who plays in the senior division. "Mr. Knox has been the single biggest supporter of our series for many, many years. That's a small token of appreciation for all he's done."
Players haven't forgotten a vow Knox made soon after Regions Bank took over the series in 1999. At the pre-matches dinner, Knox told them if Regions ever decided not to sponsor the series, he'd cover the cost out of his own pocket. That cost is usually between $5,000 and $6,000.
In addition to attending the banquet each year, Knox would often show up at the matches so he could get to know the players better.
Fairey checked with Knox's son, Jeff, about the idea of presenting an award and naming it after Boone Knox before he and Hemann got the ball rolling.
"Jeff said his dad was very excited and honored that it would happen," Fairey said.
Said Hemann, "When the decision was made and everyone thought it was very deserving and appropriate, we went full steam ahead."
Fairey attended the presentation with Hemann and Jeff Knox.
"For a man of his means and ability, he seemed very excited and humbled," Fairey said. "Gregg presented him the award, representing the players, as their way of saying 'thank you.' I was ecstatic to be a part of it."
Hemann said Boone Knox "was pretty fired up."
"It was a very enjoyable thing for me personally seeing how positive it affected Mr. Knox." Hemann said. "He seemed truly thrilled. It was really neat to see how much it lifted his spirits. It made my day."