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Six to be Inducted into GCAA Hall of Fame

NORMAN, Okla. – The Golf Coaches Association of America will induct five coaches - Prof. Arthur Boulet of Bryant, Malone’s Ken Hyland, Vince Jarrett of Abilene Christian and Houston, Odessa College’s Jimmy Russell and Mike Wydra of UC San Diego - in its 2011 Hall of Fame Class. Additionally, Gary Hart - formerly of PING - will be inducted for his contributions to college golf. The group will be officially honored at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet Monday, Dec. 5 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.

The first coach in the history of Bryant golf, Boulet spent 47 years at the helm of the Bulldog program before retiring after last season. Since he began the varsity program in 1964, his numbers have been remarkable and his record speaks for itself: 23 Division II All-Americans, seven New England Players of the Year, 10 national top-20 Division II finishes, 11 New England Division II titles, 31 NCAA tournament appearances, one ECAC all-divisions title, four New England all-divisions titles and 24 players who have become either head pros or assistant pros at golf courses across the nation. But perhaps more impressive is Bryant’s dominance of the Northeast-10 Conference under Boulet’s direction. Since the conference began sponsoring a men’s golf championship in 1981, Bryant captured the Northeast-10 Conference title 20 out of a possible 26 times. A charter member of the Bryant Athletics Hall of Fame, Boulet was named the Words Unlimited Coach of the Year in 1990 by Rhode Island’s sportswriters and is the only recipient of that award associated with the sport of golf. A longtime instructor and chair of the department of science at Bryant, Boulet has also served on various committees during his tenure at Bryant, including the NCAA Championships Committee.     

Hyland completed his 39th season of coaching men’s golf at Malone University in 2011 and has guided the Pioneers to tremendous success during his accomplished career. Under his direction, Malone has captured 28 Conference/Region/District Titles, four NCCAA National Championships (1999, 2000, 2004, 2008), and one NAIA National Title (2000). While a student at Malone, Hyland became the school’s first All-American and first national champion when he captured medalist honors at the 1969 NAIA National Golf Championship in Fort Worth, Texas. Hyland has been named to the NAIA Golf Hall of Fame (1977), the Malone Athletics Hall of Fame (1986), and the OPGA Golf Hall of Fame (1998), where he is presently serving as the association’s president. He has been named District 22, Mid-Ohio Conference, or American Mideast Conference Coach of the Year a remarkable 23 times and has coached 18 All-Americans and 68 All-District/All-Conference players. 2010 marked the second time that Hyland has earned the NAIA’s National Coach of the Year award as he also received the honor in 2000. He has also garnered four NCCAA National Coach of the Year awards (following each of the Pioneers’ NCCAA National Titles) during his distinguished career. In addition, Hyland guided the U.S.A. Golf Team to a World Championship and a gold medal in the World University Games played in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Jarrett is in his second year on the Abilene Christian’s administrative staff, serving as the associate director of athletics. He assists director of athletics Jared Mosley with fundraising and special projects. Jarrett - a 1976 graduate of the University of Houston - coached the ACU golf team from 1985-2003 before returning to his alma mater to serve as the Cougars’ head coach from 2003-10. After the 2009-10 season, he returned to ACU. Jarrett was inducted into the ACU Sports Hall of Fame in October 2009. His collegiate coaching career began at ACU in 1985. Jarrett wasted little time in establishing the Wildcats’ program as one of the nation’s best, leading the Wildcats to a Lone Star Conference championship in 1986. The next year, He was named the LSC and NCAA District VI Coach of the Year after another conference championship and a seventh place finish at the 1987 NCAA Division II National Championships.

Abilene Christian would go on to win five more Lone Star Conference Championships in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1995 with Jarrett at the helm. He also was named LSC Coach of the Year three more times in 1989, 1991 and 1993. Jarrett was the NCAA District VI Coach of the Year in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1997. In 1993, both Golf Week and Bridgestone named him the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year after he led Abilene Christian to the NCAA Division II Championship. Abilene Christian also finished among the Top 10 teams at eight other NCAA Championships. Under Jarrett’s tutelage, 27 Wildcat players earned 40 All-America awards, and 14 of his student-athletes were named to All-America Scholar teams. In addition to his extensive coaching duties, Jarrett served on the NCAA Golf Committee from 1992-2001 and was the committee chairman from 1998-2001. He also served as the GCAA Division II Representative at-Large from 1996 to 1999.

Russell was hired as coach of men’s and women’s golf teams at Odessa Junior College in 1958. In the winter of 1958-59 he was given a permission to host and conduct the first NJCAA Men’s Golf Tournament at Odessa Country Club in Odessa, Texas. The first year found all schools not budgeted to play in a NJCAA Tournament. After calling and sending out information Russell promised to provide lodging (cots in the gym), food at the cafeteria and buy all the trophies if teams could find a way to get to Odessa. During the next 10 years he won 14 national titles (team and individual) including three with the women’s team - which competed against four-year senior colleges. In 1969 Russell resigned from Odessa College and accepted a head professional golf job at Socorra, N.M. While in New Mexico, he continued his work with young people and, as the head of the state junior program, developed one of the premier junior programs in the nation.  In 1973 Russell moved to Yuma, Ariz., as head golf professional to open a new golf course, Desert Hills, and as a member of the Southwest Section of the PGA he once again took the reins of the state junior program and elevated it to one of the best in the country.  He left Desert Hills in 1982 and then retired from Needles Golf Course in California in 1987.  During his PGA pro career Russell won many tournaments and many honors including the Horton Smith Award, Southwest Section Pro of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year and was inducted into the City of Yuma Hall of Fame. Russell was the first inductee into the NJCAA Golf Coaches Hall of Fame.

Since taking over the UC San Diego golf program, Wydra has led the Tritons to top-five national finishes 13 times. He has produced a total of 54 All-Americans and 27 Tritons have gone on to play professionally. Wydra was named the Far West Coach of the Year every year from 1990 through 1999 and in 1993 was selected as the Bridgestone NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. A graduate of UCSD and former standout on the golf team, he is well known in San Diego golf circles for his playing, teaching and coaching credentials. As a collegiate player, Wydra carded the low round (68) at the NAIA National Championships in 1973 and posted second place finish at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championship at Torrey Pines in 1975. His professional career was highlighted by an individual championship at the 1980 San Diego County Open. Wydra also captured five Golden State mini-tour titles and advanced to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open Championships a total of three times. In addition to his coaching duties, Wydra is well known as a teaching professional and has served as director of the Nike Junior Resident Golf Camp since 1995. Since taking over, he has built the camp into one of Nike’s most popular and successful summer programs.

Hart began working for Karsten Solheim and PING in 1974. He was hired as the PGA TOUR Representative to build a PGA TOUR program. Because of the uniqueness of the PING product - offset, stainless steel, cavity backed, non-chrome finish - tour players were not inclined to switch to PING golf clubs. However, Solheim had been very successful with his putters and a majority of tour players were using PING putters. The young players coming out of college were willing to try the clubs because PING offered a financial program where they could earn money by how well they played and endorsements were not readily available at the time. It was, however, difficult for the players to adjust to life after college, the rigors of professional golf and new equipment. Hart developed PING’s college program to place PING product into players’ hands prior to turning professional. The program began in 1976 with Oklahoma State. Among the components that led to the success of the college program were the introduction of PING’s irons, golf stand bags designed by John Solheim specifically for college players, an apparel program with school logos and colors, coaches’ tours of the PING factory for education and fellowship, a financial program to reward coach loyalty and success and continuous quality product development. PING dedicated staff that provided consistent service and attention to detail for all facets of the program.  

“Gary is very deserving of this honor,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “He was instrumental in developing and leading PING’s college program for nearly 25 years. From the beginning, he recognized the opportunity to not only identify future tour pros who would represent PING, but he saw it as a chance to build long-term relationships with top golfers who chose other professions but would stay close to the game and remain loyal to our brand.  He took a personal interest in the players, custom-fitting them to help ensure they got the products they needed for their games. The foundation of what Gary created continues today as 20 of our 22 PGA Tour players are products of our college program. His efforts proved very beneficial for PING and just as importantly, he helped make college golf better overall.  He set the standard for today’s collegiate programs for manufacturers. I know my father, Karsten Solheim, is proud that Gary is joining him in the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.”

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