Dunkirk-Fredonia Evening Observer

Former Dunkirk Resident Bud Erickson Top Professional Sports Administrator

The U.S. Open - one of the top golf tournaments in the world - will be held at Oakland Hills in Birmingham, Michigan, in 1984, and Dunkirk native Edward "Bud" Erickson may be working with it.

"I don't know," he says at this point. "What I'm doing now is a full-time activity."

Erickson has been executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan since 1980, the United States Golf Association's arm in the state.

100 years of Evening Observer sports history reveals the 1940 Dunkirk High School graduate has had a very fulfilling role in the world of sports.

Erickson played football, basketball, track, volleyball, and tennis at Dunkirk High.

In college, he attended Duke and Syracuse before entering the Air Force during World War II. He also picked up courses at Hamilton College.

After the War, in 1946, Bud went on to Michigan State and graduated in 1948.

He was captain of the baseball team that year and watched Robin Roberts, his teammate from the '47 Spartan squad, play in the World Series that year. Roberts had signed with the Philadelphia Phillies after the '47 college season.

"I thought he was better in basketball than baseball," Erickson says of the Hall-of-Famer.

Bud stayed at Michigan State for four years after graduation, where he was the assistant sports information director. In 1952, he worked with Van Patrick, the voice of the Detroit Tigers, doing statistics for radio broadcasts.

Then it was time for football. Erickson became the Detroit Lions' publicity director in '52 and in '58 was promoted to assistant general manager.

When the Atlanta Falcons came into the National Football League in 1965, they chose Bud to help organize things, naming him assistant to the president.

But Bud never felt exclusively obligated to just one sport. In December 1969, the Ladies Professional Golf Association was looking for an executive director and Erickson was the man for the job.

The position lasted until August 1975 and there was controversy surrounding Erickson's leaving the LPGA when his contract was not renewed. But the facts speak for themselves.

"They were getting about $600,000 in purses the year I arrived. When I left, they were playing for $1.9 million."

The highest individual payoff was $35,000 when Bud arrived, but he added such things as the Colgate Dinah Shore Golf Classic and national television exposure.

Bud Erickson, a six-handicapper, who plays at Shorewood with friends when he comes home, stayed with golf, running the Atlanta Classic and then spending two years putting together the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 1979. After that he moved on to his current position.

A professional sports administrator, he's seen the ins and outs of golf, from LPGA executive director, to managing single tournaments, to handling qualifying events for an entire state.

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