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All About the Kids

Charlie and Lynn Van Over

Charlie and Lynn Van Over of Rock Springs love the Pokes. They’ve not voluntarily missed a game for years. Last year, they only missed one when Cthey were turned back at Sinclair for the men’s CSU basketball game because the roads were closed due to a blizzard. “They wouldn’t even let us go to Saratoga and around,” Charlie says, “so we had to go home.”

Because of their love of UW Athletics, the Van Overs have included UW Athletics and the Cowboy Joe Club in their estate plans. “To be used for the students,” Charlie says with a twinkle in his eye. They also received Legacy Match from the UW Foundation, which goes immediately to an area of their choice— they chose to support the Western Thunder Marching Band.

Charlie and Lynn particularly love UW basketball, both men’s and women’s. They started out sitting in the nosebleed seats, but very soon they invested in season tickets, and before you know it, Charlie was invited to join the board of the Cowboy Joe Club. He’s been on it ever since and just stepped down from the role of club president.

The Van Overs got involved with UW Athletics when forward Bill Garnet and guard Charles Bradley played at UW in the late 70s and early 80s. Their devotion deepened during the years of forward Fennis Dembo and center Eric Leckner in the mid- to late 80s. Their passion only increased through the years of Coach Joe Legerski and Coach Gerald Mattinson. “I watched them play high school basketball in Rock Springs,” Charlie chuckles.

“I loved Larry Shyatt,” Charlie adds. “He was a true gentleman.” Charlie and Lynn got to know Coach Shyatt, his wife Pam, and their son Jeremy, who served as assistant coach. “During his tenure, we had great kids, fabulous kids.”

vanovers-300.jpgOne of the things Charlie loved about Coach Shyatt and Coach Allen Edwards was that the studentathletes were a real team, on and off the court. “They’re together,” Charlie says. “They hang together.”

Indeed, what Charlie and Lynn love about attending games and actively supporting UW is their interactions with the student-athletes. “We really get a chance to meet the kids,” Lynn says.

For example, Charlie drove all the way from Rock Springs to watch a basketball practice last week. “Just for practice,” Lynn says with a smile.

“They gave me a seat right on the court,” Charlie says. “A lot of the kids I know because I’ve been here, but a lot of the kids I don’t know, I’ve never met. Every kid came over and shook my hand.” Emotion catches in his voice. “That’s kind of neat.”

“Coach (Jeff) Linder is teaching them not only to be players but to be gentlemen,” Lynn says. “And to be scholars,” Charlie adds. “I’m so proud of them in the classroom.”

Charlie and Lynn both grew up in Colorado and met at college in Trinidad, where Lynn was studying music and Charlie was studying drafting. They have a son who is married with two kids.

Charlie has been an athlete throughout his life. He played football and basketball and wrestled. For 42 years, Charlie was an architect, first for Kellogg and Kellogg and eventually for his own company, Plan One/ Architects. His firm has designed many of the state’s educational, correctional, historic, and financial institutions. Since he was a kid, he has crafted elaborate scale models of houses and other structures.

Lynn has worked in a number of positions, including at an elementary school library, for an eye doctor, and for an accountant. “All people-related—I love people,” Lynn says. “Service is a motivating factor.” In addition to her passion for music, Lynn makes beautiful handmade greeting cards.

Charlie and Lynn are happy that they can support the thing they both love—UW student-athletes.

“Being on Cowboy Joe, I understand the struggles financially of the Athletics department,” Charlie says. “I hope that this will help fill some gaps in providing scholarships, in academics, so that we continue to be successful on the field, court, pool, but we’re still extremely successful academically.”

“My hope is that we build athletes who are wonderful human beings,” Lynn says.

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