News | April 21, 2021

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Golf management names lab after loyal alum

Brian Blomberg was never sick as a kid. From kindergarten through his senior year of high school growing up on Long Island in Farmingville, New York, he didn’t miss a day of school.

Then, as a model student and diehard sports fan at FGCU a decade ago, his boundless dedication and enthusiasm came across in early morning text messages he’d send to friends and colleagues in the Professional Golf Management program.

photo shows FGCU alumnus
Brian Blomberg with a more recent Azul.

“Rise and grind boys,” Blomberg would tell them, a defining mantra in a work-hard, play-hard mindset that has come to be known as “The Blomberg Doctrine.”

“Don’t make excuses in life,” the doctrine decrees. “Work hard. Seize the opportunity. Inspire others. Try new things. Enjoy Life. Be the reason someone smiles today.”

So when Blomberg was diagnosed in 2019 with the rare, aggressive bone cancer Ewing sarcoma, it never occurred to him he wouldn’t beat it.

“He was always positive,” said his mother, Julie Blomberg.

“He was never thinking he couldn’t do something,” said his father, Bret Blomberg.

In March, FGCU dedicated the PGM program’s student lab in Sugden Hall in honor of the distinguished 2012 graduate, who died in September 2020, only 14 months after his diagnosis and about 17 months after first experiencing back pain. Named the Brian M. Blomberg Golf Management Student Lab, it is yet another reflection of the proud Eagles alumnus who continued inspiring others long after leaving FGCU.

“Brian just had a great personality. He was full of life,” PGM Director Tara McKenna said of Blomberg, who interned at several top-100 clubs while at FGCU and was an assistant pro for seven years at the acclaimed Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York.

“If there was an event supporting FGCU Athletics or golf management, Brian was always first to raise his hand and say, ‘Let’s go do it and have some fun and raise some money.’ The response we’ve received to naming that room has been pretty amazing.”

As a passionate member of FGCU’s student fan group, the Dirty Birds, Blomberg knew there were times when a fill-in was needed to don the mascot costume for Azul the Eagle. So he asked. After a couple successful tryouts, he was rewarded during his last semester in fall 2012 with the plum assignment for FGCU’s breakthrough home upset of Miami early in the 2012-13 campaign that culminated in the Eagles’ historic NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

photo shows FGCU alumnus
Blomberg as Azul during the Miami vs FGCU game in 2012.

“He loved the school so much he had being Azul on his bucket list,” said FGCU Associate Athletics Director Denise Da Silveira, recalling Blomberg’s distinct in-costume persona that matched his nature: athletic and outgoing, filled with high-fives and celebratory push-ups. “He had a charisma and attitude that worked. I thought that (game) was a special memory to give to a student like Brian. He was just a great kid.”

After Blomberg died, so meaningful was his impact on others that the $25,000 needed to support the PGM program and name the student lab in his honor rapidly poured in, with much coming from club members at Maidstone.

“It was unbelievable the letters we got,” Julie Blomberg said. “There was a lot of stuff I didn’t even know. He did a lot for a lot of people. He had such an impact.”

Despite the distance, FGCU remained a proud second home to Blomberg, who continued enthusiastically supporting the PGM and athletics programs long after graduation.

“FGCU was a big part of his life,” said Bret Blomberg, noting annual Southwest Florida vacations the family took that included trips to FGCU games, the University Bookstore to buy Eagles gear and even to Brian’s prized alumni donor brick near the Cohen Student Union.

“He was so proud of that school. He loved it even after leaving. It meant a lot to him.”