Blackmon of South Carolina Winner of Labron Harris Sr. Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Puggy Blackmon, Director of Golf Development and Facilities at South Carolina and a member of the Carolinas PGA Section, has been named winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America in cooperation with The PGA of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game of golf and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
“I am both honored and humbled by this prestigious award,” said Blackmon. “Labron Harris was a pioneer in collegiate coaching at a time when his tireless efforts and contributions were for the love of the game. Many thanks to the GCAA for this award and their contributions to the unparalleled growth of our great profession.”
Blackmon has been with the South Carolina golf programs since 1995 after serving a 12-year stint at Georgia Tech. He turned over head coaching duties of the men’s program in 2007 and in 2010 took on additional duties as associate head coach of the women’s team.
As a head coach, Blackmon led his teams to 23 straight NCAA postseason appearances, including all 12 seasons at South Carolina, and 43 team tournament titles. The Gamecocks advanced through regionals eight times. South Carolina won nine team events, including the 2007 NCAA West Regional.
A total of 11 Gamecocks won individual titles. Six golfers earned 10 PING All-America honors and 11 were named All-SEC first or second team 17 times. Blackmon also coached two SEC Freshman of the Year and an SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
During his tenure at Georgia Tech, Blackmon lead the Yellow Jackets to five top-seven national finishes, including NCAA runner-up in 1993. His Georgia Tech teams won or finished second nine times at the ACC Championship.
A four-time ACC Coach of the Year, Blackmon coached 31 PING All-America selections and two Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award recipients.
Blackmon was inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the Georgia Tech and Carson-Newman Halls of Fame.
A 38-year PGA of America member, Blackmon has served as instructor to PGA TOUR members David Duval, Michael Clark II and Kyle Thompson and the LPGA’s Clarissa Childs and Mi Hyang Lee.
Playing collegiately at Carson-Newman, Blackmon received his bachelor of arts degree in business administration in 1973. He was chosen one of the Outstanding College Athletes of America in 1971 and ‘73. After receiving his master of science in economics from Clemson in 1977, Blackmon worked for six years in the golf resort operations and development field in Florida.
As a junior golf activist, Blackmon was involved with the organization of the AJGA in the late 1970’s, later serving the AJGA’s Director of Development. He organized the Jacksonville Junior Golf Association in 1978 and was Tournament Coordinator for the Junior World Cup in 1981-82. Blackmon served as executive director of the Atlanta Junior Golf Association from 1983-1990.
He and his wife, Gail, have three children and three grandchildren.
Blackmon follows in the footsteps of past Labron Harris Award recipients Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section), the late Rod Myers (Duke/Carolina PGA Section), Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section), Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section), Pat Owen (U.S. Naval Academy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Rick Pohle (Williams College/ Northeastern New York PGA Section), John Bermel (Northern Iowa/Iowa PGA Section), Pat Goss (Northwestern/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Small (Illinois/Illinois PGA Section) and Mike Mayer (Indiana/Indiana PGA Section).
Korengel Recipient of David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Ryan Korengel, a sophomore at Mount St. Joseph, has been named recipient of the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award. Korengel overcame severe brain trauma to become a member of the Mount St. Joseph golf team and 4.0 student.
On September 14, 2008, 12-year-old Korengel was playing golf with three friends in Cincinnati, Ohio. While standing over his putt on the eighth hole, a microburst caused by effects from Hurricane Ike ripped a limb off a neighboring oak tree, crushing his skull and leaving Korengel clinging to life. A fellow golfer who was a doctor saw the incident and rushed to Korengel’s side. She removed his tongue from his airway and stayed with him until additional medical assistance arrived.
Due to the storm conditions, the 911 system was not properly functioning and it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Helicopter medivac was unavailable due to the high wind conditions.
Korengel arrived at the hospital in a coma. When the pediatric neurosurgeon reviewed Korengel’s CT scan he saw that his entire right skull was shattered and his brain was compressed, bleeding and swollen. The surgeon told Korengel’s parents to give their son a kiss before surgery, as it might be their last.
Korengel survived the surgery but was left in coma with little hope for a meaningful recovery. After eleven days of little to no brain activity, Korengel opened his eyes. Weeks later, Korengel fully awoke and realized that the left side of his body was paralyzed. He was told he might never walk again.
Years of rehabilitation followed. He had to relearn almost every function. Hours were spent in physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy. He endured five brain surgeries during that first year – including a shunt and replacing the right side of his skull, as well as he fought off a few serious infections.
Suffering from left side hemiplegia, Korengel is paralyzed on the left side of his body with little to no sensation. Prior to the injury he was left-handed. He has developed epilepsy as a result of his injury but is seizure free with the assistance of medication. Korengel is technically blind suffering from a left side field cut, meaning he only sees center-to-right in both eyes. Additionally, he has constant double vision.
Golf, and the opportunity to return to the game he loved, was one of Korengel’s main motivating factors in recovery. When told he could not use his left shoulder for golf, Korengel taught himself to swing one-handed. He swings the club as if left-handed but with his right hand. He needs a cart to move around the golf course and due to his blindness needs a coach to spot his ball for him. Korengel also lacks depth perception and needs assistance with lies on the golf course, whether the ball is above or below his feet and reading greens. He struggles with balance due to the lack of feeling on his left side. The right side of his body completely compensating for his left leaves him physically and mentally fatigued.
Korengel attended summer school to complete the seventh grade and attended eighth grade on an abbreviated course load. He returned to full-time to school as freshmen in 2010. Korengel finished high school and was accepted to attend Mount St. Joseph University. After his acceptance to Mount St. Joseph, he approached golf coach Joe Sparhawk about an opportunity to be involved with the golf team. After the conversation Korengel was offered a roster spot on the team.
Doctors recommended taking classes part-time and commuting from home. Korengel lives in the dorms, without assistance, carries a full class load and earned a 4.0 GPA while competing on the golf team. He was selected by his teammates to represent them on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
A communication and new media studies major, Korengel believes he suffered his traumatic brain injury for a reason. He wants to become a motivational speaker, help others deal with difficult situations in their lives and serve as an example of determination in the face of adversity.
“It’s really an honor to receive the David Tom’s Award,” said Korengel. “When I was first nominated I wasn’t sure if I deserved to be mentioned in the same conversation as the past recipients. When I got the call saying I won the award, I was shocked! I feel so blessed to be playing golf at all, so it is amazing to be honored for all of my hard work.”
2015 Convention Guest Speakers
The GCAA has announced it's schedule of guest speakers for the 2015 National Convention in Las Vegas. This year's group of speakers includes Keynote Speaker Mark McGinnis, U.S. Navy Seal commander, Featured Instructor Butch Harmon, a Q&A with touring professional and U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster, Mark Broadie, developer of the strokes gained method, Kerry Haigh, Chief Championships Officer for the PGA of America on tournament operations and course set-up, Thomas Pagel, Senior Director Rules of Golf and Amateur Status for the USGA on 2016 Rules changes, Scott Fawcett with PlayingLesson.com and Gary Palis with V1. As always Stephen Clar from the NCAA will present on NCAA Rules & Compliance. The convention will again close with the Golfweek Coaches' Panel featuring four GCAA member coaches - Jamie Howell of Eastern Florida State, Jim Owen from Oglethorpe, Mike Small of Illinois and Chris Zambri from USC.
The 2015 Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Monday, December 7 with a reception starting at 6:30pm, and the Corporate Partners Exhibit Night Tuesday evening, December 9, starting at 4:00pm.
Please click on the speaker names below for biographical/presentation information for each.
Monday, December 7
| U.S. Navy Seal Commander | 8:00am to 9:00am (Celebrity 4)
| Developer of the Strokes Gained Analysis Method | 9:15am to 10:30am (Celebrity 4)
| USGA Rules Change Year | 10:45am to 12:00noon (Celebrity 4)
| Featured Instructor | 1:15pm to 2:45pm (Celebrity 4)
| A Q&A with the LPGA Star and Solheim Cup Captain | 3:00pm to 4:15pm (Celebrity 4)
Tuesday, December 8
| NCAA Rules & Compliance - 8:00am to 9:00am (Celebrity 4)
| PGA of America on Tournament Course Set-Up | 9:15am to 10:30am (Celebrity 4)
Wednesday, December 9
Gary Palis (V1)
| New Video/Camera Technology & Tablet/Mobile Device Technology | 8:00am to 9:00am (Celebrity 4)
Scott Fawcett (playinglesson.com)
| DECADE Course Management System | 9:15am to 10:00am (Celebrity 4)
Golfweek Coaches Forum - 10:15am to 11:30am (Celebrity 4)
| Jim Owen
| Mike Small
| Chris Zambri
Awtrey Honored with GCAA Lifetime Achievement Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Jim Awtrey, retired CEO of the PGA of America and former college golf coach, will become the sixth Lifetime Achievement honoree by the GCAA. Awtrey will be officially recognized at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet Monday, Dec. 7 in Las Vegas. Other GCAA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients include Karsten Solheim, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Friends of Golf (FOG).
In his 53 years in the golf industry Awtrey has served as a college player and coach, golf course and facility manager, Rules official, tournament director and one of the Game’s most widely respected voices.
“One of the very special times of my career was serving as Golf Coach at the University of Oklahoma,” said Awtrey. “I have remained in close touch with many of the players from over forty years ago and they never stop calling me “coach,” it is truly a special experience. Today the GCAA coaches are training and influencing the future stars and leaders of the game and I am proud to be a part of their organization, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and honored to be a member of the GCAA Hall of Fame.”
Awtrey grew up in Shawnee, Okla., and played collegiately at the University of Oklahoma. After graduating with an accounting degree in 1966, his golf career would begin as an assistant professional for Joe Walser at Lake Hefner Golf Course in Oklahoma City. Awtrey was elected to PGA membership in 1969 and embarked on his professional playing career. He returned to his alma mater as head coach from 1972-77 where he guided the program to three NCAA tournament appearances and tutored three All-America selections.
After leaving the Sooner golf program, Awtrey would serve a variety of roles in the PGA of America and South Central PGA Section. This included treasurer and president of the section and member of the PGA Rules Committee and The PGA of America Board of Directors.
In 1986 while serving on the board of directors, the PGA offered Awtrey the position of Tournament Manager. A year later he was named Executive Director, the first PGA professional to hold the title. In 1993, Awtrey was named the organization’s first CEO, a position he held until his retirement in November 2005.
In his 18 years at the helm of the PGA of America the organization saw resounding success. The Ryder Cup became the preeminent international competition in golf and the PGA Championship gained in stature. Television exposure expanded from 6.5 hours in 1986 to 64.5 hours in 2005 while TV rights fees grew 600-percent during that same period. Total revenue also saw great gains moving from $12.5 million to $200 million with 381-percent increase in total sponsorship dollars and 286-percent increase in total licensing dollars. Additionally, Awtrey oversaw the formation of PGA Properties, which included five PGA owned properties. Through the sale of the PGA Merchandise Show the organization was able to create a $120 million PGA Endowment Fund. Membership rose from 15,000 to 27,000 during his tenure.
Awtrey has been active in the game outside of his duties with the PGA of America, including the National Golf Foundation, World Golf Foundation, Golf 20/20 and the National First Tee Oversight Committee. From 2006 to 2009 he served as vice president of Landmark Land Company.
Outside of golf he has served on the national advisory council for the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, trustee/fellow on the Georgetown College board in Lexington, Ky., the Baldwin Wallace College business council, the Digital Media Arts College board of directors and the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Since 2011 Awtrey has served as Representative at-Large to the GCAA National Advisory Board and the Arnold Palmer Cup tournament chairman. In his capacity on the GCAA board he has advised the Association on multiple topics and guided the group in developing its long-range planning goals. As chairman of the Arnold Palmer Cup he developed the event’s Patron Sponsor program, secured Rich Harvest Farms and Atlanta Athletic Club as host sites and was instrumental in the event’s expansion to include both men’s and women’s college golfers from around the world beginning in 2018.
Previously, Awtrey has been honored with the Donald Ross Award by the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award, both in 2006. In 2007 Oak Hill Country Club inducted him into its Hill of Fame. The PGA of America inducted Awtrey into its Hall of Fame in 2011.
Awtrey and wife Jeanne have been married for 47 years. They have three children and eight grandchildren.
Four Selected for GCAA Hall of Fame Induction
NORMAN, Okla. – The GCAA will induct four coaches - Bruce Brockbank, JT Higgins, Jimmy Stobs and Sandy Terry - in its 2015 Hall of Fame Class. The quartet will be officially honored at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet Monday, Dec. 7 in Las Vegas.
In his 23 years at the helm of the Cougar golf team, Brockbank has led BYU to 44 tournament wins, including five conference titles. He has earned conference coach of the year honors six times. Brockbank has also been named Golf Pride Grips District/Region Coach of the Year four times and led the Cougars to seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a fourth place finish in 2005.
He has coached 20 All-Americans at BYU and helped coach 2003 Masters Champion Mike Weir as an assistant in 1992. Over the past 23 seasons, his student-athletes have earned 45 all-conference citations. Four have captured conference championship titles and two have been named conference golfer of the year. He has also coached 20 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars.
Brockbank was a member of the GCAA National Advisory Board from 2006-13 and served as the organization’s president from 2010-12. He also served on the GCAA Division I All-America committee for four years and on the GCAA All-America Scholar committee for 11 years. Brockbank has been a member of the NCAA Golf Committee since 2013.
As a member BYU golf team he earned PING Third-Team All-America and Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar accolades his senior season. He also served four seasons as assistant to GCAA Hall of Famer Karl Tucker.
Higgins is in his 15th season at the helm of the Texas A&M golf program after a successful stint at New Mexico. He led the Aggies to a school-record 12 straight NCAA tournaments from 2002-14 and guided the program to its first national championship in 2009. Higgins has been named conference coach of the year in both the Big 12 and Mountain West and is a four-time Golf Pride Grips District/Region Coach of the Year. A total of 30 of his players have earned all-region honors and 17 were selected all-conference.
Texas A&M golfers have earned 12 PING All-America honors under Higgins’ tutelage. His teams have posted the 10 lowest scoring averages in school history and succeeded in the classroom with six Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars and 19 Academic All-Conference honors. Aggies Andrea Pavan and Nacho Elvira represented Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup while Higgins coached Team USA at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup.
Higgins led New Mexico to four NCAA regional and two NCAA Championship appearances. In 2001, he was named Golf Pride Grips District VII Coach of the Year. Higgins UNM teams never finished below fourth at the conference championships and in 1998 won the NCAA West Regional. In 1998 and 2000, the Lobos advanced to the NCAA Championships. Three UNM players earned PING All-America honors under Higgins’ guidance. Four of his players were named Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar and 12 earned academic all-conference honors. UNM’s Wil Collins received the 2001 Ben Hogan Award.
In addition to his success on the golf course, Higgins served on and chaired the GCAA All-America, International Selection, Ben Hogan Award and Jack Nicklaus Award committees. He also serves as a voter on the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches poll and serves as Division I Director-Central on the GCAA National Advisory Board.
Stobs is in his 14th season at the helm of the Barry men’s golf team. His teams have achieved national prominence by winning NCAA Division II National Championships in 2007, 2013 and 2014. Stobs is the only coach in NCAA history in any division to win national championships under the two formats used to crown a champion.
Stobs directed the Buccaneers to the NCAA Championships final for the seventh straight year in 2015. The Bucs won a school-record eight tournaments during in 2013-14, including the last four. Barry golfers have earned PING All-America honors 27 times and 24 all-conference accolades under his leadership, including 2014 Jack Nicklaus Award recipient Adam Svensson. Stobs was twice honored with the Dave Williams National Coach of the Award presented by Golf Pride Grips. He also was named Golf Pride Grips South Region Coach of the Year four times and Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year once.
Also successful in the classroom, 14 Bucs have earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors. Daniel Stapf was twice named recognized with the prestigious NCAA Elite 89, presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average at the NCAA Championships.
An active member of the GCAA, Stobs serves on the National Advisory Board as Division II Representative at-Large, on the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award Committee and as a voter on the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll. He also previously served the board as Division II Director and chaired the Division II All-America and Jack Nicklaus Award committees. He has also served on the GCAA International Selection Committee. Stobs was selected as the head coach for the 2008 USA vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship and in 2015 coached the USA to a fourth place finish at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup.
In his 33rd season of coaching, Terry has coached Tyler Junior College since 2001 after beginning his career at Lon Morris College in 1983. Over his career he has claimed two national championships, advanced to the NJCAA National Championships 23 times, produced 47 All-Americans and three NJCAA medalists.
Terry led Lon Morris to four Region XIV championships and nine appearances at the NJCAA National Championships. Seven golfers earned All-America honors. Additionally, Terry’s charges earned All-Region honors 25 times and six claimed individual conference championships and one state title.
Terry has found even greater success at Tyler, leading the Apaches to national championships in 2003 and 2008. He has led Tyler to 10 Region XIV titles and a Texas State Championship in 2006. Under Terry’s direction the Apaches have qualified for the NJCAA Division II National Championship for 14 consecutive seasons. A total of 25 of his Tyler golfers have earned NJCAA All-America honors with an additional 12 PING All-America honorees. Three times his charges have earned medalist honors at NJCAA nationals with two earning the Arnold Palmer National Individual Champion Award. Additionally, 42 Apaches have earned NJCAA All-Region honors and 10 claimed PING All-Region accolades.
In addition to his duties with the men’s team Terry also coaches Tyler’s women’s squad. Under his direction they have claimed 11 Region XIV championships, advanced to the NJCAA national tournament 14 straight years, produced 14 All-Americans and 12 individual conference champions.
Terry was elected to the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2001 and serves as the NJCAA Men’s Division II Coaches Association Vice-President. He serves as a voting member of the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll and on the GCAA NJCAA Division II West Region Committee.
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