Tom Backhus ’70: “I Have a Good Life and I’m Happy!”

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Q: Why did you join PDT at OSU in the first place?
A: I joined a fraternity to be further engaged in the college experience. I came to Ohio State on a football scholarship and knew that was going to take the largest part of my non-academic time. I wanted to associate with something outside of football that would involve me in the college experience. I enjoyed and respected the guys I met at PDT and thought it was a good fit.

Q: What was your favorite memory from the chapter?
A: Just making friends and getting along with the guys in the House. Because of being on scholarship, I had to live in the dorms for my first three years. I enjoyed my senior year in the House.

Q: Do you keep in touch with any of your brothers?
A: Yes, a few of them.

Q: Tell us about the company you own.
A: For 20 years, my wife and I created, owned and operated a business called 4 Eagle Ranch, an entertainment facility near Vail, Colorado. Our primary business was hosting private entertainment events, corporate groups, weddings, fund raisers, etc. Over the years, we created more and more 'open to the public' product. The business was successful and we sold it about five years ago. I also have had my own little real estate brokerage for years, Backhus & Associates, and I have a non-profit Football Camp (Vail Summer Football Camp) that I organize every summer for kids in the Central Mountains of Colorado. This year, we are bringing in 16 college coaches to work with about 150 kids.

Q: Did your time in the chapter help you to prepare for that role?
A: Although, for the most part, our House brothers at PDT were all quality, good guys, the experience of multiple personalities having to live and work together to create an enjoyable and productive living environment, was a good life experience.

Q: What have you been up to since graduation?
A: Coached college football for 12 years (Tampa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Air Force Academy, Notre Dame). Got fired at ND and moved to the Vail area of Colorado. Entered real estate as a broker, developed a little bit, then started 4 Eagle.

Married my wife, Tess, in 1975 while at Iowa State and we have three daughters and four grandboys. After 33 years, we left the Vail area and moved to a small rural community deep in the mountains of Western Colorado. We now live in a town called Paonia, in a valley filled with orchards, vineyards (11 wineries), and organic farms. It’s pretty special...we feel lucky to have found it!

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?
A: I’ve been married for 40+ years, I have good kids and grandkids and a lot of friends. I have a good life and I'm happy!

Q: What advice do you have for future members of PDT?
A: Keep life in perspective, understand the perspective of others and give more than you receive.