Oglethorpe head men’s golf coach Jim Owen was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame on December 9, joining six other honorees in the organization’s 2013 Hall of Fame class. Owen and the other honorees were inducted at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet at the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas.
The event was part of the week-long 2013 GCAA and WGCA (Women’s Golf Coaches Association) conventions, which are annually held in Las Vegas. The conventions featured former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served as the keynote speaker. Over the course of the week, Golf Channel President Mike McCarley and a host of instructors, as well as representatives from the USGA and NCAA, hosted seminars.
“In my speech, I was honored to relate that it was the ‘we, not me’ over my 30 years at Oglethorpe that made this night a reality,” said Coach Owen. “I was able to thank everyone at Oglethorpe who had a part in building our program to the point where I was able to receive this great honor.”
Representing the Oglethorpe community at the event were university President Larry Schall and his wife, Betty Londergan.
“I was honored that President Schall and Betty flew cross-country to be with me on the most special night of my career,” said Owen. “In my remarks, I was able to indicate that Larry and Betty were hosting the university holiday party at their home the very next night, yet they found time to join us for the banquet. I appreciate how proud President Schall is of what we’ve been able to accomplish in our golf program over the past 20 plus years.”
Joining Dr. Schall and Betty at Owen’s table, representing his current and former players and their families, were Oglethorpe alumnus Tolliver Williams and his father, John. Williams was the first golfer in program history to earn all-conference, all-region, conference player of the year and All-America honors over the course of his career. His career culminated in 1998, when he led the squad to their first NCAA Championship appearance.
Also joining Owen for the occasion were his parents, Jim and Charlotte, and cherished friend of Owen and Oglethorpe, “Uncle Bill” Wall. In addition, Owen’s oldest and best friend, former Oglethorpe men’s basketball player Noah Gershon, flew all the way from Boca Raton, Fla., to share in the festivities.
“The evening began with a roll call and photo of all Hall of Fame members in attendance. It was like the Heisman Trophy ceremony,” Owen recalled. “Every legendary golf coach was standing here before me, and I couldn’t help but think, ‘I’m now going to be in that picture every year for all-time.’ How cool is that?”
Owen becomes one of five Division III coaches to be inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame. He joins Dr. Tim Brown of Skidmore, the late Jack Jensen of Guilford, Steve Conley of Methodist and Bob Alpers of St. John’s (Minn.).
The other honorees at the 2013 banquet included Bruce Heppler of Georgia Tech; Dave Jennings of Central Alabama; Bud Marsee of Broward Community College; John Means of Colorado State, Army, Minnesota and Idaho; and Thomas Trueblood of Michigan, who was posthumously inducted. In addition, Guy Spears of equipment manufacturer Eaton Golf Pride was inducted for his myriad contributions to collegiate golf.
Owen is in his 21st season coaching Oglethorpe’s men’s golf team and 32nd overall after also serving as an assistant and then head coach of the Stormy Petrel basketball program. In 2009 and 2012, Oglethorpe claimed the NCAA Division III national championships. Since 2000, a span of 14 consecutive years, the Stormy Petrel men have been ranked inside the Top 10 in the nation. A total of 20 players from Oglethorpe have earned PING All-America honors and earned a total of 10 conference player of the year honors. They have also finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championships 11 years during that span. Owen has coached 52 all-conference performers including six in 2013, when the entire six-man travel squad was named All-SAA. Last season, Oglethorpe won their 11th conference championship in the past 16 years, including four in a row from 2001-04. He was named conference coach of the year in 13 of the last 16 seasons. Owen was honored with the Dave Williams Award presented by Eaton Golf Pride as NCAA Division III national coach of the year in 2012. Owen currently serves on the GCAA All-America Scholar Committee and previously served on numerous other GCAA committees.
Find out more about all 2013 GCAA inductees.