Posted March 31, 2007
Longtime Duke Men's Golf Coach Rod Myers Passes Away
DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke University Athletic Department lost a member of its family on Friday, March 30, with the passing of men's golf head coach Rod Myers. Myers was 67 and passed away at the Duke University Medical Center after a battle with an acute form of leukemia. The 34-year mentor of the Duke men's golf program was one of the mainstays of the Duke his difficult time. Duke University will dearly miss him." While at the helm of the Blue Devil program, Myers coached 16 All-Americas,nine Academic All-Americas, 24 All-ACC selections and three ACC individual champions. He has also guided the Blue Devils to 30 tournament wins and seven trips to the NCAA Championships. He came to the Blue Devils in thefall of 1973 after serving as head golf coach at Ohio State for seven years. During his tenure with the Buckeyes he coached five All-America honorees andled Ohio State to prominence in the Big Ten and in the NCAA, including abest finish of sixth at the 1970 NCAA Championships. Myers' first coaching position was at the University of Maryland, where he served as a physical education instructor, assistant golf professional and associate golf coach for three years. Myers was a Master PGA Professional and served on the staff of the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy. He was a member of the PGA Rules Committee and the USGA Rules Committee. As a member of the PGA of America, he officiated at nine consecutive Masters Championships from 1995-2003. A PGA professional while at Ohio State, Myers is a former president and treasurer of the Golf Coaches Association of America and a former chairman of the NCAA Golf Committee. Myers' instructional expertise was evident in a series of internationally televised golf tips and lessons called "Play Your Best Golf." In May of 1986, Myers was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Springfield, Ohio, native received his undergraduate training at Ohio Wesleyan, graduating in 1961 after four years as a golf letterman and one season as team captain. Later, he was inducted into the Ohio Wesleyan Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Springfield (Ohio) High School Hall of Fame. In 2005, Myers led Duke to a school record four tournament wins, including its first ACC Championship since the 1966 season. The Blue Devils went on to post their best NCAA Championship finish in 43 years, closing the championship in an eighth place tie at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. ACC individual champion Ryan Blaum as well as Nathan Smith and Michael Schachner were each awarded All-America status, becoming the first trio in Blue Devil history to be honored in the same season. Myers also collected a pair of individual accolades, winning ACC Coach of the Year and Golfweek National Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his illustrious career. Myers is survived by his wife, Nancy, their three daughters - Kelly Elliott,Kathy McKinney and Kristen -- and their five grandchildren - Hannah Elliott, Taylor McKinney, Grace Elliott, Madelina Myers-Osband and Joe McKinney. The Duke University Athletic Department has created an endowed athletic scholarship in the name of Coach Myers. For more information or to make a contribution to the endowed scholarship fund please contact Jack Winters, Jr. at 919-613-7575. -- Mike Krzyzewski Head Basketball Coach Duke University "Rod was a great Duke man. He represented Duke as well as anyone and his efforts throughout his career are a perfect example of how a coach should serve a university. He was a great friend and mentor to many. This is a huge loss for Duke University." --- Ted Roof Head Football Coach Duke University "We are all very saddened by passing of Rod Myers. He was a great coach and an even better man. He was a teacher of superior live skills and made an impact in the lives of everyone that he touched. He leaves behind a lasting legacy of excellence on and off the golf course." --- Brad Sparling Interim Head Golf Coach Duke University "Personally, Coach Myers was a second father figure. He was my mentor. He was a great friend; he was all that wrapped into one person. He was a great golf coach, but he was an even better man. If you want to know how to be a great husband, a great father, a great friend, a great neighbor, a great coach, a great teacher, a great golf professional, a great rules official, a great golfer- Rod Myers is your role model. This is a difficult time for everyone who loved Rod, but we have all been blessed by having known him. He made us all better people. The family that is Duke golf that Coach Myers created will move forward, we will continue to build on his legacy of greatness." -- Dan Brooks Head Women's Golf Coach Duke University "Our good friend and colleague Hal Morrison said it best: losing Rod is like losing a brother. Even more, it's like losing a favorite brother. His humor, his caring way, his 'touch' with all who knew him; he was the favorite brother in a huge and wonderful family that he created, simply by being himself. Rod Myers has coached us all, on how to live our lives. Thank you Rod -- I will continue to learn your lessons for the rest of my life." -- Ryan Blaum Duke golf letterman - 2003-2006 Three-time All-America selection "Coach Myers was in the business of shaping the golf games of young men, but more than that he shaped the lives of the young men that were blessed to call him their coach. He was a teacher of supreme human qualities on top of teaching how to hit a fade. Coach and his wife Nancy both had a great impact on my life. They were always there for me throughout my college career. WhenI struggled in the classroom freshman year, they were behind me, lecturing me when I needed to be lectured and encouraged me when I was in need of that too. They saw me through that time period that made me a stronger person. Iwould not be the person or the player I am today if it wasn't for Coach Myers." -- Joe Ogilvie Duke golf letterman - 1994-96 PGA Tour member "I think the best coaches have the ability to mold their players into better men first and then make them better players second. Coach Myers had this ability. I matured and became a more complete person my four years under Coach and that translated into success both on and off the golf course." -- Mike Castleforte Duke golf letterman - 2002-04 Two-time Academic All-America "Coach Myers was such a good person to everyone. He will truly be missed by all of us, but how he changed us and what he did for us will always be remembered. Only very special people continue to inspire people to be better even when their time is up and he was definitely one of those people. I am just thankful to have known Coach Myers and to be able to call him my friend." -- Jason Widener Head Golf Coach UNC Wilmington "Coach Myers was an important figure in my life. I was fortunate to spend time with him as a student-athlete, assistant coach and friend. He was good natured and kind, ever gracious and respectful; a man of integrity who led a healthy life and was a positive role model. It was very difficult to see Coach as he struggled with this disease, but even when he was only able to communicate with his left hand, he did so with strength, compassion and the beautiful spirit that has meant so much to so many people. It was an honor to play for him, to work with him and to be his friend." -- Jim Kubinski Head Golf Coach Notre Dame "Coach Myers did so much for so many. He lived a beautiful life. He lived for his wonderful family, for his friends, for his colleagues and for his players over the years. There's not a day that goes by where I don't think to myself, "I'm going to do it this way because that's how Coach would do it." He was a special man. He always had time for anyone and everyone. We've lost someone who truly made a difference in this world. As long as he's in our hearts though, we can all follow his example and make a difference too." -- David B. Fay USGA Executive Director "This is a very sad day. If someone's looking for a model of how academics, athletics and ethics can be melded together to integrate College sport into the overall college experience, one need only look at the manner in which Coach Myers conducted himself and led the Duke men's golf team. My life is richer for having known Rod Myers. I extend my condolences to members of Rod's family - immediate and extended." -- Ron Schmid Executive Director Carolinas PGA Section "Rod Myers was the absolute finest example of a father, a friend, a coach and a mentor. Every person, young or old, who knew him, are better for that association. I have never known a finer person or a better friend."