2009 GCAA Convention Wrap-up
NORMAN, Okla. - The GCAA recently finished up its annual national convention, which took place at the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The convention, which took place January 13-16, had 198 coaches in attendance, up from 188 attendees in 2007. The four-day event included a rules workshop, meeting sessions, presentations, an annual awards banquet, and exhibit night.
January 13 saw the opening of the GCAA National Convention with the 2nd annual GCAA Rules Workshop. Clyde Luther of the USGA and Don Essig with the PGA of America again led the workshop which took place Sunday through Monday. The educational session, which included a classroom rules seminar and a trip to the Disney Palm Golf Course for on-site demonstration, had 26 coaches take part. The Rules Workshop will again be offered at the 2009 convention in Orlando.
Monday's afternoon sessions began with meetings of the Coaches Congress. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the Congress since it was approved and created during the 2007 convention. GCAA Past President, Tom Drennan presided over the meeting representing the NAB as ad hoc chair. Tom Drennan and Gregg Grost, Executive Director explained to Congress members in attendance the importance of this body for the membership and how it could effectively drive legislation and hot topic issues in the future. Division III issues were addressed first with Mike Phillips, Emory University concerned about coaches not being allowed to use golf carts during the NCAA Championship, while they were being allowed in Division I and II. Donnie Wagner, NCAA Assistant Director of Championships for Men?s Golf addressed the issue and promised to follow-up with the Division III Golf Committee. Division II issues included a question from Jared Purvis, Valdosta State regarding the new regionalization plan. Donnie Wagner addressed the question indicating it was the philosophy of Division II presidents for all sports not just in men?s golf. Steve Card, Western Washington addressed the 45/24 day competition window. Feels it needs to be expanded to 60 days. Donnie Wagner indicated a strategy needs to be developed to propose legislation. Division I issues included questions from Scott Allen, George Washington regarding the need for a regional ranking for teams given the new method of selection to the Division I Championship. GCAA will consider such a ranking if the Division I membership believes it would be positive. Bill Poutre, Hartford questioned the nomination procedure for GCAA Directors at Large. Tom Drennan responded they will look to receive nominations from the Congress in the future. Steve Clar, NCAA Membership Services gave updates regarding text messaging in all Divisions, the possibility of adding a Division IV in the future and discussed Junior Varsity interps in Division I. Additionally, he mentioned topics that came up during the recent women?s convention which included amateurism (tour school/expenses), 48 hour travel restriction, international team participants in US college events, and club fitters as outside consultants. Each of these questions has been or will be addressed in detail through the GCAA national office.
The highlight of the convention took place Monday night during the GCAA Hall of Fame Awards Banquet. There were 340 coaches and friends on hand to see Arnold Palmer accept the GCAA Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding support of college golf. This is the largest attendance in the history of the awards banquet. Overall, the evening?s ceremony honored 19 individuals, including Tom Drennan of Rhode Island, Jay Hardwick of Virginia Tech, and Jack Jensen of Guilford being inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame and Bill Johnson, former men?s golf coach at Dartmouth, receiving the GCAA Honor Award.
Tuesday's General Business Meeting was called to order by President John Fields. Items discussed included review of 2007 Financial Statement and presentation of 2008 Budget by Treasurer Bruce Heppler. Both were accepted by the membership. Election of officers was held with terms beginning July 1, 2008. The following GCAA members were elected: Mark Hankins, Iowa ? Third Vice President Eric Hoos, Denver ? Division I Representative At-Large Steve Card, Western Washington ? Division II Representative At-Large Bob Alpers, Saint John?s ? Division III Representative At-Large Trey Jones, Florida State ? Division I East Director Mike McGraw, Oklahoma State ? Division I Central Director Conrad Ray, Stanford ? Division I West Director Jimmy Stobs, Barry ? Division II Director Dan Ruyle, Southwestern ? Division III Director. President Fields gave a report on the second GCAA Rules Workshop held prior to the beginning of the 2008 Convention. Reminded all coaches that it was the expectation of the association that each coach would participate in a rules workshop once every four years. Tom Drennan, Past President gave the Necrology report and update on the Congress meeting which was held on the previous day. Gregg Grost, Executive Director, gave update to membership on current GCAA membership totals, dates for upcoming international events, explanation of David Toms Award for 2008, notified membership of two Town Hall meetings for 2008 and date and site for the 2009 convention. Dustin Roberts, GCAA staff member presented a proposed realignment for GCAA award regions in Division I. Two Corporate Partners made presentations to the membership including AMF Golf Management regarding a cooperative effort between their company and the GCAA to provide information for student-athletes interested in becoming golf professionals and future job fairs hosted by AMF with the support of the GCAA. College Prospects of America was represented by Oscar Subirats. CPOA is reaching out to work with GCAA members to place outstanding prospective student-athletes at US universities and colleges. John Fields presented service awards to coaches present and closed the meeting.
The GCAA Corporate Partner Exhibit Night was held Tuesday January 15 from 4:00pm-8:00pm in the Veracruz Exhibit Hall at the Coronado Springs. The approximately 200 coaches in attendance were able to see displays and interact with representatives from nearly 50 corporate partners and friends of the GCAA. The show, which was one of the largest in GCAA convention history, included booths from golf manufacturing companies, apparel designers, golf accessories, and even three large golf simulators. The evening was a chance for the GCAA member coaches to meet some of our newest corporate partners and catch up with some of the longtime supporters.
Next year the convention will again be staying in Orlando. The 2009 convention will run from January 25-28 and will be at the DoubleTree Hotel At the Entrance to Universal Orlando.