On May 15, 2017, it will be my honor to accept the award on behalf of Mark Laesch as we induct Mark posthumously into the NJCAA Men’s Golf Hall of Fame. Mark and his company Golfstat helped to bring NJCAA Men’s Golf out of the shadows with his tournament scoring and statistic reporting.
In 2001, I began my career coaching and noticed one significant difference since the days I competed for this same college in the 1970’s. The two-year college golfers were not receiving any public notoriety in their tournament results. In the 1970’s, golf trade magazines of the day reported NJCAA tournament scores adjacent to the NCAA university tournaments. Over the years this changed and the talented young men who played junior college golf were not receiving the exposure that they needed to grasp the attention of the four-year college coaches in the hopes of transfer opportunities upon their junior college graduation. When I brought this problem to the attention of Mark Laesch and Gregg Grost (CEO of the GCAA) big changes began to happen rapidly.
Mark was very compassionate to the junior college golfer’s problem and what he set into place through Golfstat went well beyond my wildest expectations. Mark and I met on a number of occasions to discuss how Golfstat could benefit the NJCAA golfer. My job was relatively simple; I needed to convince our NJCAA coaches that membership in the GCAA and utilizing the tool of Golfstat would indeed benefit our efforts in marketing our athletes to the next level of college golf. Our coaches bought in. Upon joining these two organizations, our players were privy to the same awards offered to the NCAA players through the GCAA. Golfstat not only placed our tournament schedules, results and reports onto the Golfstat website, but Mark also added a location upon his website’s front page that displays up-to-date reports of the NJCAA golf teams and individual golfers.
Since the NJCAA golf programs began utilizing the Golfstat reporting tool, Mark’s company has positively impacted thousands of lives. Year after year, I am overwhelmed with the number of phone calls and emails from university coaches with enquiries of my graduating sophomores.
Golfstat completes the circle of what makes junior college golf work. Upon graduation from their respective two-year college, the student-athletes are once again being heavily recruited by the university coaches. I am so very proud to be associated with the many tremendous men and women who have chosen to make a career as a college golf coach spending their professional lives in helping young men and women achieve their dream of a college education while representing their institution in the best character building sport of all – golf. Golfstat has helped to make this dream a better possibility and the company’s ability to do so was possible only because Mark Laesch chose to help our student athletes.
As coaches of the NJCAA and our student athletes, we owe a tremendous debt that we can never repay to Mark Laesch. Although, only through prayers may we personally thank him, it is an honor and a privilege to forever recognize his tremendous contribution to our Association and student-athletes through Mark’s induction into our 2017 NJCAA Men’s Golf Hall of Fame.
Mark, thank you for your friendship and for a job well done! God bless you.
Coach, Men’s Golf
Central Alabama Community College