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Florida's Banks Recipient of David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Eric Banks, a junior at Florida, has been named recipient of the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award. Banks underwent open-heart surgery on June 25, 2012, but returned to Florida as a standout student and golfer. While undergoing his freshman physical at Florida during the fall of 2011, cardiologists discovered a second beat of Banks heart. During follow-up questions Banks told doctors he experienced minor shortness of breath and an occasional rapid heart rate that would last seconds then resolve. Dr. Beard ordered more tests and over the coming months Banks underwent many echocardiograms and two transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). It was determined he had Atrial Septal Defect. Not yet understanding the seriousness of his condition Banks focused on his studies and golf, playing in three fall tournaments. During the winter semester break Banks returned home to Canada and under went further tests on his heart. Results of the tests were not scheduled to return until after Banks was back at Florida. Banks was excited for the first tournament of the spring, even more so since his parents were coming to watch him play. However, his parents main focus of the trip was to inform him the tests performed just months earlier indicated Banks needed open-heart surgery to repair his heart defect and properly septate his heart (a procedure to get the blue blood to the lungs and the red blood to the body). Even with this news weighing heavily, Banks stayed in school and competed in every event of the spring season. Banks returned home two weeks following the NCAA Championships for his surgery. He received a call from the hospital on the evening of Thursday, June 21 informing the next day would be his pre-surgery day with open-heart surgery scheduled for Monday morning. Pre-surgery day was difficult for Banks and his family as his surgeon, Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen, walked them through the process and the dangers of the procedure, which included paralysis, stroke and death. The operation would involve splitting open the sternum, placing Banks on the heart-lung machine and then performing the repair on his heart. It was an emotional time for the then 19-year old Banks as he pondered his mortality. He considers the morning of his surgery as the loneliest of his life. After the four-hour surgery Banks woke up in the ICU. Disoriented from his procedure, Banks describes himself as “freaking out” due to the tube in his throat. Doctors initially removed the tube but Banks lungs collapsed four times which necessitated the tube being reinserted. That was the only moment he remembers from the day after his surgery. His father remembers the first thing Banks did after waking was to shake his arms and legs to make sure they could still move, a moment his dad will never forget. Banks felt terrible when he woke the next day. He had two tubes in his stomach, another in his chest connected his heart, IVs in his wrist and neck and a catheter. Every breath caused excruciating pain. For several days he was unable to move from his bed. The first time he was able to walk from his bed was about 25 feet but made him feel “like I ran five marathons in a row.” It was a discouraging moment for Banks. After Banks returned home from the hospital, each day he did stretching exercises, primarily based around stretching his chest, and cardio. Initially Banks struggled to lift his hands above his head. His cardio a strict walking plan, initially only two minutes and was completely exhausting. Even though he was still undergoing his recovery, Banks chose to return to Florida for the fall semester in 2012. As soon as Banks returned he met with Florida men’s golf coach Buddy Alexander. Alexander immediately noticed how frail Banks, who had lost 20 pounds and most of his muscle since Alexander last saw him, appeared. Banks was still bothered by an erratic heart rate and blood pressure. He was initially only allowed to chip and putt and but by late September he was able to make full swings. Banks was also able to increase his cardio and do more strenuous stretches. Banks returned home to Canada following the fall semester for another check-up. Dr. Hancock Friesen told Banks his heart was at a normal size and stroke rate. When the spring semester began, Banks began qualifying for tournaments. He experienced a few episodes on the golf course when his heart would beat fast or he would get extremely tired. The fatigue was random from day-to-day Banks earned a spot in Florida’s first spring tournament. As a precaution, Alexander played him as an individual due to the 36-hole day. Banks played without incident, although he was understandably tired after the two-round day. He tied for 10th place. In a nice bit of symmetry, his parents came to watch him play, just as they had a year previously when they informed him of the need for his heart procedure. It was a great and emotional moment for Banks and his family. Banks would go on to participate in every event of the spring. Even though he has suffered minor setbacks, Banks has since been a regular in the Gator lineup and maintains a 3.46 GPA while majoring in Economics. “I am honored to receive the 2014 David Toms Award,” said Banks. “Overcoming open-heart surgery was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do. The help of my family, friends, coaches and continued support of my hometown aided me immensely through this rough time. A special thanks to my cardiac surgeon: Camille Hancock Friesen who preformed a great procedure and added roughly 30 years to my life. I am forever indebted to you and to all those who have helped me along the way. This award would not have been possible without all the support I have received, thanks again and congratulations to all the nominees!”

See Eric's Interview with Golf Channel's Morning Drive here - http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-2014-eric-banks-interview/
GCAA Hall of Fame Member Ron Balicki Passes Away
College golf lost one of its greatest friends with the passing of Ron Balicki. Since practically inventing the college golf beat in 1983, so far back it was known as Florida Golfweek, Ron became part of the fabric of the college and amateur game. He covered his first golf tournament in 1980 while with the Florida Daily News. A 2010 inductee into the GCAA Hall of Fame, Ron covered every NCAA Championship dating back to 1985 and every GCAA National Convention since its inception. Dubbed "Wrong Ron" for his propensity to incorrectly pick the winner of the NCAA Championships and playfully teased for his uncanny ability to bring the rain with him to events he covered, Ron was truly fond of the sport and people he covered and was loved back by the players, coaches and everyone involved with college golf. Truly one of the kindest men one could ever meet, Ron will be greatly missed. "On behalf of the Golf Coaches Association of America and our member coaches, I would like say how sad we are at the passing of GCAA Hall of Fame member Ron Balicki," said GCAA President Todd Satterfield. "Ron was a true friend and ambassador of college golf and helped college golf become what it is today.  He touched the lives of more players and coaches than he will ever know and we will all miss "Wrong Ron" for all of the right things he did for all of us." We feel that no one could give as touching tribute as Golfweek's Jeff Babineau and welcome all of Ron's friends to follow the link below if they haven't had the opportunity to read his moving words: http://golfweek.com/news/2014/mar/26/ron-balicki-dies-65-tribute-jeff-babineau/
2013 GCAA National Convention Recap
The 2013 GCAA National Convention was held December 9-11 at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. More than 250 coaches were in attendance, making it the largest in the history of the association. Held in conjunction with the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) convention, the schedule of events featured nationally recognized speakers, educational sessions conducted by both the USGA and NCAA, as well as the opportunity to interact with more than 65 GCAA Corporate Partners during the annual Exhibit Night. The annual convention brings together coaches from all divisions of men’s college golf, including members from the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. “This is the one time during the year when coaches from across the country gather to recognize the accomplishments of their peers, exchange ideas about their profession, and learn from golf industry leaders “, said GCAA CEO Gregg Grost. Day one of the convention was highlighted by joint sessions with the WGCA that featured Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel, and former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice. McCarley and his team from Golf Channel discussed the new television package for the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Championships, which will begin with the men in 2014 and women in 2015, as well as their expanded coverage of college golf year-round. Dr. Rice challenged the coaches to set the bar high for their student athletes both on the course and, more importantly, in the classroom. Dr. Rice shared stories from both her formative days in school as well as her time traveling the globe as one of the most powerful and influential diplomats in the world, She followed her remarks with a question and answer session, which set the tone for the remainder of the convention. Henry Brunton, recognized as one of the leading instructors in in the world, highlighted the afternoon sessions. A PGA of Canada Master Professional, Brunton is the only Canadian listed among GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. He was the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s National Golf Coach from 1999-2011 and the creator of the PGA of Canada’s Teaching and Coaching Certification Program. On Monday evening the GCAA Hall of Fame and National Awards Banquet was held in front of a packed room. The Hall of Fame class of 2013 was introduced to coaches, sponsors, family and friends in attendance. National Award recipients, including Coaches of the Year, Assistant Coach of the Year, the Labron Harris Senior Award, and Academic National Champions were recognized. During a reception prior to the awards dinner all current GCAA Hall of Fame members in attendance were recognized and brought together for a group photo.

Day two highlights included a first ever joint presentation by the USGA and NCAA. Stephen Clar, NCAA Rules and Compliance, and Thomas Pagel, USGA Executive Director for Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, explained the differences in amateurism rules between the two organizations. A long-time concern of coaches and their student athletes, the educational session provided a much clearer picture on how to protect their player’s amateur eligibility.

Steve Loy, GCAA Hall of Fame member and nationally recognized sports agent, shared with coaches his strategies on negotiating their personal employment contracts. He strongly encouraged all head coaches to participate in the GCAA head coach Compensation Survey that will be launched in January 2014.

The afternoon focused on breakout sessions for all Divisions including NCAA , NAIA, and NJCAA. Coaches discussed schedules, format, and other related topics for their upcoming national championships to be held in spring 2014. Assistant coaches, the fastest growing part of the GCAA membership, held a leadership driven session featuring Christian Newton , head men’s golf coach at Colorado State and a former Assistant Coach of the Year.

The final activity of the day was the annual GCAA Corporate Partner’s Exhibit Night. The 2013 show saw the largest number of Corporate Partners and Friends of the Association in the history of the convention with 68 in attendance. Coaches had the opportunity to meet and learn more about a myriad of products and services available to their programs.

Day three started with the annual GCAA General Business Meeting. President Todd Satterfield (Furman) led with his State of the Association Address and Treasurer Bruce Heppler (Georgia Tech) presented the projected 2013 year-end financial report. Immediate Past Present Bruce Brockbank (BYU) directed the election of new officers for 2014.

The final session of the convention featured a coaches’ panel consisting of J.T. Higgins (Texas A&M) , Bob Simms (St. John Fisher), and Kyle Blaser (Oklahoma City) .Coaches across all divisions asked questions on a range of topics, including recruiting strategies, how to set up practice sessions, and qualifying versus picking your traveling team. Convention attendees headed home having had the opportunity to interact and share coaching philosophies with their peers from across the country. The 2014 National Convention will again be held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, December 8-10.
Desimone Named Team USA Coach for Palmer Cup at Walton Heath Golf Club
LAS VEGAS –Steve Desimone of California has been selected to coach the United States at this summer’s Palmer Cup at Walton Heath Golf Club. The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played on the club’s Old Course June 26-28. Ryan Murphy of Texas - recipient of the 2013 Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf - will serve as Desimone’s assistant coach. Scotland’s Andrew Coltart and Stanford assistant coach Philip Rowe will again serve as Europe’s head and assistant coach, respectively.

“I’m honored to be a part of the Palmer Cup as a member of the GCAA and representing the USA,” said Desimone. “This news definitely has me smiling. I’ve worked with collegiate players for 35 years and I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I know this is going to be a lot of fun with plenty of great golf and serious competition. All in all, it should be a wonderful experience and Go USA.”

Desimone is in his 35th season at the helm of the Cal men’s golf team in 2013-14 and has led the Golden Bears’ program to sustained success over the last three and a half decades. Cal won its lone national title in 2004 but the run his team has put together since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign is unprecedented not only at Cal but arguably on a national level.

Cal has won 21 of 33 stroke-play events since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign and has been in the top five in all 33, as well as each of its four match-play tournaments during the period. The Bears reached the national semifinals each of the past two seasons, while sweeepting NCAA Regional and Pac-12 Championship crowns. Desimone earned the 2013 Dave Williams Award presented by Eaton Golf Pride as the national coach of the year in Division I men’s golf and was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year each campaign to mark the second and third times in his career he earned the honor. In addition to the run Cal has made over the last two seasons, the Bears have also qualified for the NCAA Championship each of the past four campaigns to set a school record.

The Bears are currently ranked fourth after winning three of five events and finishing third and fourth in its other two events during the 2013 fall season.

Cal finished the 2012-13 season as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team by Golfweek and Golfstat despite being defeated by Illinois in the NCAA Championship match-play semifinals. Cal was also the top-ranked team in the final regular season Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches Poll. Cal became the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in all three sets of rankings shortly after winning its first two events of the campaign in late September of 2012 and never dropped out of the top spot in any of them. Cal set a modern-era NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play tournaments, eclipsing the previously established record of 10 by the 1985-86 Oklahoma State team.

Michael Kim became the first Cal player to win national player of the year honors, sweeping the Jack Nicklaus Award, Haskins Award, and Golfweek/Sagarin Player of the Year. In addition, he was one of three national finalists for The Ben Hogan Award. Kim, along with Max Homa and Michael Weaver were all first-team PING All-Americans, with Kim adding first-team Golfweek All-America, while Homa and Weaver were second-team choices. All three were also All-West Region and first-team All-Pac-12 selections, while Brandon Hagy and Joël Stalter were both second-team PING and Golfweek All-Americans, PING All-West Region picks and second-team All-Pac-12 selections. In addition, the Bears swept Pac-12 Player of the Month honors in 2012-13, with Kim and Homa winning twice each and Stalter once. Cal players earned medalist honors a school-record 10 times in 2012-13 led by the school-record four captured by Kim. Homa and Stalter won twice each, with Homa becoming the first Cal player to ever win the NCAA title and earn the Arnold Palmer Award presented by Callaway and the third to win the Pac-12 crown. Weaver and Hagy were medalists one time each.

Desimone is a member of the Northern California Golf Association’s Class of 2014 and will be inducted during the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association’s 55th annual gala event at The Inn at Spanish Bay during the week of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 4, 2014. Last year, he became the first coach to ever by presented with the CGWBA’s Jack Lemmon Ambassador of Golf Award at the same event.

The United States leads the Palmer Cup series 9-7-1. Photo Credit Cal Athletic Department
GCAA Announces 2013 Team Academic Awards presented by Farmers Insurance
NORMAN, Okla. – Brown (Division I), Post (Division II), Greensboro College (Division III), Embry Riddle - AZ (NAIA), Scottsdale CC (NJCAA DI) and South Mountain CC (NJCAA DII) have been named Academic National Champions for their respective divisions announced the GCAA.

Brown posted the highest overall team GPA for all divisions with a 3.74. A total of 145 teams submitted GPAs of 3.00 or higher to earn All-Academic Team recognition - a new high in the five years of the award.

“All the credit goes to the players - I couldn’t be happier for them,” said Brown Head Coach Michael Hughes. “We put a high emphasis on academics and I know that we’ve been close to winning this award the past four years. To carry an Ivy League curriculum and course load while competing is tough. This lends credibility that if you recruit good quality kids your program will be rewarded.”

South Mountain CC won its fourth straight Academic National Championships in NJCAA DII.  Post earned the Division II Academic National Championship for the second-straight year while Brown, Greensboro College, Embry Riddle - AZ and Scottsdale CC won for the first time.

DePaul, Harvard, Kennesaw State, Madonna, Ohio Valley, Redlands, Richmond, SCAD Atlanta, SCAD Savannah, Stanford, Sterling, Stevens Institute of Technology, Utah Valley State, Valparaiso, William & Mary and Yale also received President’s Special Recognition status for having team GPAs of 3.5 or better.

To be eligible for GCAA All-Academic Team honors a college or university must submit the GPAs for each player on its official squad list for the academic year.

“Farmers Insurance is proud to honor and support the GCAA and their 2013 recipients of the 2013 Team Academic Awards,” said Chuck Browning, Head of Sponsorship and Corporate Giving for Farmers Insurance. “A key philanthropic pillar of Farmers Insurance is Education, thus this award is a perfect fit for us and gives us a chance to extend our support of golf throughout the year. It is also an extension of our University Day platform at the Farmers Insurance Open, which we continue to see great success on each year.”

Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is a leading U.S. insurer group of automobiles, homes and small businesses and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.

The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders. Farmers Group, Inc., along with its subsidiaries, manages the non-claims insurance operations of the Farmers Exchanges. Farmers Group, Inc. is wholly owned by the Zurich Insurance Group. For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at www.farmers.com or at www.Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance. Academic National Champions   Division I - Brown Division II - Post Division III - Greensboro College NAIA - Embry Riddle - AZ NJCAA DI - Scottsdale CC NJCAA DII - South Mountain CC   President’s Special Recognition
(3.5 or better GPA)   Division I Brown DePaul Harvard Kennesaw State Richmond Stanford Utah Valley State Valparaiso William & Mary Yale   Division II Ohio Valley Post   Division III Greensboro College Redlands Stevens Institute of Technology   NAIA Embry Riddle - AZ Madonna SCAD Atlanta SCAD Savannah Sterling   All-Academic Teams
(3.0 or better GPA)   Akron Arizona Auburn Augusta State Ball State Belmont Boston College Brown California Coastal Carolina Davidson DePaul Detroit Mercy Duke East Carolina East Tennessee State Evansville Georgia Tech Hartford Harvard Illinois Indiana Kansas State Kennesaw State Kentucky Liberty Longwood Louisville Loyola (Md.) Marquette Mercer Miami (Ohio) Michigan Michigan State Middle Tennessee Minnesota Missouri Missouri State New Mexico New Mexico State Northern Colorado Northwestern Notre Dame Oklahoma Princeton Purdue Rice Richmond Robert Morris San Diego Seton Hall South Alabama South Carolina South Dakota State Southeastern Louisiana Southern Illinois SIUE St. John's Stanford Stephen F. Austin TCU Tennessee Texas Tech Towson Troy UALR UCLA UNC Charlotte UNCG UNCW Utah State Utah Valley Valparaiso Virginia Tech Wake Forest Weber State William & Mary Winthrop Wofford Wyoming Yale   Division II Armstrong Atlantic State Barry Bellarmine Bentley Brevard CSU Monterey Bay Ferris State Lynn Maryville (St. Louis) Minot State Ohio Dominican Ohio Valley Oklahoma Christian Post Saginaw Valley State St. Edward’s Tiffin USCA West Florida   Division III Carnegie Mellon DePauw Edgewood Greensboro Grinnell Gustavus Adolphus Johnson & Wales Luther Milwaukee School of Engineering NYU Occidental Redlands Saint John’s (Minn.) Skidmore St. Thomas Stevens Institute of Technology Stevenson Swarthmore Transylvania Trinity College (Conn.) Wabash Washington & Lee Webster Wheaton Wittenberg   NAIA Bethany (Kan.) Bethel College (Kan.) Carroll College Central Methodist Clarke Cumberlands Embry Riddle - AZ Lee Madonna Northwood (Florida) Northwood (Texas) SCAD Atlanta SCAD Savannah Sterling Wayland Baptist   NJCAA DI Central Alabama Darton State Meridian CC Scottsdale CC   NJCAA DII South Mountain CC
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2014 Palmer Cup Teams

Team USA

 

Team Europe

 
1.    Wyndham Clark   Oklahoma State     FR   1.    Pep Angles   Central Arkansas    JR
2.    Bryson Dechambeau   SMU     SO   2.    Thomas Detry   Illinois    SO
3.    Brandon Hagy   California    SR   3.    Paul Dunne   UAB    JR
4.    Rico Hoey   Southern California    FR   4.    Ricardo Gouveia   UCF    SR
5.    Stewart Jolley   LSU     JR   5.    Grant Forrest   San Diego    JR
6.    Anthony Maccaglia   Oglethorpe     JR   6.    Jack McDonald   Stirling    
7.    Trey Mullinax   Alabama    SR   7.    Erik Oja   Arizona    SR
8.    Ollie Schniederjans   Georgia Tech    JR   8.    Jon Rahm   Arizona State    SO
9.    Robby Shelton   Alabama    FR   9.    James Ross   Houston    SR
10.    Cameron Wilson   Stanford    SR   10.    Louis Tomlinson   UCLAN-Myerscough    
 
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