When I became the coach of the newly formed women's golf team at
Tulsa in 1974, I didn't have an office; I had a desk in a
hallway. I didn't have a team, either, so with a budget of
$1,500 I found five freshmen on campus. I remember thinking,
What have I gotten myself into? That seems like yesterday, and
with my retiring after last week's NCAAs I can look back, see
how far women's golf has come and say how proud I am to have
been a part of the growth.
We took baby steps, at first, to upgrade our program. At our
first tournament I noticed that all the men's teams had matching
uniforms and golf bags, but none of the women's teams did. I
couldn't stand that, so I started lobbying for uniforms and bags
for the girls. We were the first team in the country to have
them, and I'm sure I made a lot of athletic directors hate me.
I'll never forget my first recruiting class. I decided to go
after a little girl from Roswell, N.Mex. I flew to New Mexico on
a private plane provided by a friend and spent a couple of hours
with Nancy Lopez and her family. We had instant rapport, and
Nancy decided to come to Tulsa. The next year the AIAW ruled
that coaches could not use private planes for recruiting trips.
That was fine by me--I had already landed the best woman golfer
of the last 25 years.
I wish I could turn back the clock 20 years and keep charging,
but I feel our school needs a younger person to maintain our
high standards. After 26 years it's time for me to relax and
maybe even play a game of golf once in a while.
Dale McNamara, 64, has won four national championships.