The new Golfstat.com site is live (screenshot below). The first phase, at least. Big thanks to the incredible team who got it done. Big thanks to the Golfstat team. Excited to see it live and looking forward to what else is in store. Come what may, I’m ready, and excited about it.
Happy Veterans Day to my Grandpa Ball, my friends who served, and everyone out there. We take for granted the freedoms afforded to us citizens due to the sacrifices and service of our nation’s Veterans. #VeteransDay
It was a simpler time. Remember when IU, coming back from scandal and some very down years, knocked off #1 Kentucky? I just came across this video my brother made at the time. He added the theme from my favorite film, Hoosiers, and it lined up perfectly. Still a classic game, and classic soundtrack. Perfect marriage of the two in this video.
My dad, Mark Laesch, will be inducted into to the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame. Really proud and excited about it. This brings on a whole wave of emotions, as each milestone this year has, but I’m extremely happy about this.
Official press release from the GCAA below:
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Five Inductees for 2017 GCAA Hall of Fame Class
NORMAN, Okla. – The GCAA will induct four coaches – Dr. Garland Allen of Gardner-Webb, Paul Chavez of Odessa College, West Florida’s Steve Fell, and Conrad Ray of Stanford – along with Golfstat founder Mark Laesch in its 2017 Hall of Fame Class. Allen and Laesch will be honored posthumously The group will be officially inducted at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet Monday, Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.
Allen began his tenure at Gardner-Webb in 1961 when the institution was still a junior college. During his first year, he served as an academic counselor. He taught history in 1961 and 1962 and served as the acting chairman of the religion department from 1962-64. He began his 27-year golf coaching career in 1962, a post he maintained until his retirement from the university in 1989. He directed the golf program to nine appearances in the NAIA National Tournament. The crowning moment came during when Gardner-Webb captured back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 1976 and ‘77. Allen was honored as NAIA Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1977, and was inducted into the Gardner-Webb Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, 1993. Also a professor emeritus of religion and history, Allen retired from Gardner-Webb in 1989. Soon after his retirement, the Garland H. Allen Golf Scholarship was established by the Gardner-Webb Bulldog Club in his honor.
Chavez is in his 21st year at the helm of the Odessa College golf program. The Wranglers won back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005, and again in 2017. He was named 2017 NJCAA National Coach of the Year, his fifth time to win the honor. Under Chavez, Odessa has won 145 team championships, including nine NJCAA Region V Championships, 10 NJCAA Texas State Championships, and 10 WJCAC Conference Championships. During his tenure the Wranglers have finished in the top five nationally 13 times and have produced 29 NJCAA All-Americans, 21 PING All-Americans, 50 NJCAA All-Region, 40 NJCAA All-State, and 66 WJCAC All-Conference performers. In all 73 student-athletes have transferred to four-year institutions.
Chavez is also involved away from the course. He recently served on the NJCAA Golf Poll (Div. 1) committee and is a Past President of the NJCAA Coaches Association and was instrumental in the implementation of the Golfstat scoring system for NJCAA Golf. He also serves on the Golf Advisory Board for Ratliff Ranch Golf Links, Texas Junior Golf Tour Advisory Board member, current President of Permian High School Boys Golf Booster Club, Upward Basketball Coach, and has been the guest speaker at several engagements along with being involved with many church and community activities.
Fell took over as head coach of the West Florida men’s golf team in 1994 as it began its transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference. Prior to the 2011-12 season, Fell was also named director of golf at UWF, overseeing both the men’s and women’s programs. The Argonauts won NCAA Division II national championships in 2001 and 2008 and have been a national and regional power every year under Fell’s watch. In 2016-17, the Argonauts won a school-record eight tournaments, including their fourth NCAA Regional, before advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship. UWF also has claimed 15 GSC titles, the most among active league schools. Fell, a 14-time GSC Coach of the Year and two-time Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award presented by Golf Pride, has tallied 73 career tournament wins, averaging three wins per season. In the summer of 2010, Fell was also named the GSC Coach of the Decade. He has coached 40 PING All-Americans at UWF, and 72 have earned All-GSC honors.
Laesch founded Golfstat in 1984. He began by selling his service to local college Illinois State before his statistical program changed college golf. Golfstat’s statistical database aggregated results from every tournament at every level of college golf. The NCAA Golf Committees for the past 28 years have used Golfstat’s data to select teams for postseason competition and worked with Laesch to develop a team and individual ranking. Golfstat revolutionized how teams and college golf fans followed the sport when it began its live scoring service. An ardent supporter of the GCAA, Laesch provided Golfstat’s services to GCAA award and Arnold Palmer Cup committees for selection purposes and helped the Association develop the Arnold Palmer Cup Individual Ranking. The GCAA and WGCA present the Mark Laesch Award, presented to the team that showed the greatest improvement from the previous season in adjusted stroke average, in his honor.
Ray, a former Cardinal standout student-athlete, is Stanford’s Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf. The 2017-18 season marks his 13th on The Farm. During his tenure as head coach, Ray has led the Cardinal to 11 appearances in the NCAA Championships, including the school’s eighth national title in 2007. Stanford has won three Pac-12 Championships and four NCAA regional crowns under his direction. Ray was the 2007 Dave Williams National Coach of the Year presented by Golf Pride recipient and a two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Stanford student-athletes have been well decorated under Ray’s watch, as he has helped produce two Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol recipients, two Ben Hogan Award presented by Konica Minolta winners and a Byron Nelson Award presented by Srixon/Cleveland Golf honoree. Cardinal golfers have earned 27 PING All-America, 21 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar, four Pac-12 Players of the Year, three Pac-12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year, three Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and 18 All-Pac-12 first team selections. Additionally, Ray coached the 2008 United States Arnold Palmer Cup team and five Stanford golfers have represented their country in the event during his tenure.
Ray has also been an active member of the GCAA. Currently the Association’s Past President, he has been a member of the National Advisory Board since 2006. He has additionally served on the Arnold Palmer Cup player and coach selection committees, as well as selection committees for he David Toms and Labron Harris Awards. Ray has also served on the GCAA Nomination Committee and USGA College Relations Committee. A 2011 inductee into the Northern California Golf Hall of Fame, Ray hosts Sirius/XM radio program GolfU.
– GCAA –
Cool story (at least, to me) about last night’s Cubs win. My dad and I are actually White Sox fans (yeah, I know it’s confusing since I root for the Cubs. I have some Cubs history, too, including meeting Harry Caray, thanks to my dad). But I was able to watch games 6 and 7 of last year’s Word Series with him. Somebody got my dad a Cubs t-shirt during last year’s series (I believe). Either way, I ended up with it. I wore it to the Cubs’ NLCS win last night. Was a great, connected moment for me.
Rough end to a great season for the Cubs tonight. The Dodgers were clearly the better team and wish them the best. Shout out to my Dodger friends in one of my old homes, as well.
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
NORMAN, Okla. – The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) have announced the recipients for the first annual Mark Laesch Awards. Teams were recognized based on improvement in adjusted stroke average per individual per round from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 seasons (denoted in parenthesis below).
WGCA recipients included LIU Brooklyn (6.7) in Division I, Division II’s Regis (6.42), and Transylvania (10.15) from Division III.
For the GCAA honorees were North Dakota State (2.29) from Division I, Division II’s Saginaw Valley State (3.51), Division III’s Rosemont College (24.07), Corban (12.72) of NAIA, Dodge City CC (0.99) from NJCAA Division I, and NJCAA Division II’s Southeast CC (4.40).
– GCAA/WGCA –
The Women’s Golf Coaches Association, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The WGCA was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the WGCA represents nearly 600 coaches throughout the U.S. and is dedicated to educating, promoting and recognizing both its members and the student-athletes they represent.
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA’s mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.
As you may or may not know, my dad passed from ALS in March. I was there. In fact, my siblings were all there that day, which was interesting since it was the first time we were all together since Christmas. I kept thinking to myself that day, this all seems too perfect. And, well, sadly, it was. But I’m glad we all got to spend time with him that day. I miss him very much but I’m glad he’s no longer suffering. I was going back and thinking about all the things that have happened this past year or so. I’ve also just been thinking about ALS, in general.
For those of you who don’t know, ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gherig’s disease, is a devastating disease that progressively takes away the ability to use your muscles. You lose your ability to walk, use your arms and ultimately breathe. It’s a death sentence. I’ve watched my Grandpa (when I was 5) and my dad now go through it. It’s not typically genetic, but is in a small percentage of cases. My Grandpa’s brother also passed from the disease. My dad’s sister also passed from the disease, this same year, months before my dad. I was glad I had the chance to drive him to the funeral, despite how sad it was.
ALS has been around for a while, and there is still no cure. It was first found in 1869, it came to national prominence in the US when Lou Gherig was diagnosed in 1939, and again during the ice bucket challenge around the summer of 2014. About 6,000 American are diagnosed every year, which is why it doesn’t get the coverage of other diseases, but if you or a loved one have been through it, you understand just how horrible it is. It was also featured in the documentary Gleason, about former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed who was diagnosed in 2011. Another strange note: I saw this movie at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 just a couple months before my dad was diagnosed. I was the only one from my group who made it to that screening. It actually helped prepare me for what I would go through with my dad just a few months later.
There has been progression in treatment and medication, but no cure, after all this time. I realize there are plenty of things to spend your money on. Plenty of charities out there. But if you’ve seen what ALS can do to a loved one, I urge you to join the cause. It’s devastating. I was devastated, and still am. But as a good friend of my dad’s told me at his funeral, “one foot after the other.” I had no doubt that’s what I would do, because I’m my dad’s son.
Oh, by the way, I moved to Chicago because I had an opportunity to do so in December, which also allowed me to be 3 hours from my dad which I used to my advantage to see him a lot over the past year and help as much as I could. He never got to see the place, unfortunately, but as I picked up some of his stuff and drove it up to my place in his van for 24 hours the week of his funeral to recharge and pick up my suit, I felt he was with me. I felt he finally saw the place. Months after I moved in, and after my dad passed, I looked up the ALS Association Chicago who I had exchanged some emails with as I signed up for the Walk to Defeat ALS. I was shocked to find out that their office was literally right across the street from my building. What are the chances, right?
I ran some miles today using Charity Miles to raise money for the The ALS Association as sponsored by Johnson & Johnson (today). I encourage you to do the same for The ALS Association, or another charity. All you have to do is turn it on, select a charity, create a profile and select walk, run or bike. (Note: I haven’t read the fine print. I don’t know how much actually goes to the charity, but I’m going to be doing these things anyway, so I’m running with it.) Also, use smile.amazon.com. Also, Happy Sunday, enjoy life and God bless.
Here’s my report on Lonzo Ball after seeing him get a triple-double in person in a 94-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. His shot is really bad and they are going to have to reconstruct it to make him a shooter in the league. But he’s a really smart player. He get’s it done on offense and defense, and in all statistical categories. He’s a team player, and the comparisons to Jason Kidd are spot on. He’s going to be the next Jason Kidd and a good one. As long as he’s more of a distributor than a shooter. Even Jason Kidd made himself into a decent shooter and Ball is ahead of Kidd there, in my opinion.
Brian Laesch is an “independent” Chicago Bulls beat writer waiting out the rebuilding process.
Things kick off with the Junior/Amateur Competition and Long Drive Contest today.