Dale McNamara, legendary women’s college golf coach who helped create the program in Tulsa, dies at 86

Dale McNamara, the legendary college golf coach who helped start the women’s program in Tulsa where she coached Nancy Lopez died sunday after his second battle with cancer. She was 86 years old.

McNamara was the head coach of Tulsa’s women’s golf program for 26 years (1974-2000), bringing the Golden Hurricane to national prominence. She has won four national titles and 81 tournament victories. In just her second season, she led Tulsa to a second-place finish in the AIAW National Championship.

“A fierce competitor, caring coach and Golden Hurricane through and through, Dale will always be remembered as a formidable force within collegiate women’s golf,” Tulsa President Brad R. Carson said in a statement. . “It’s only fitting that Dale lived to see the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which gave birth to the program she nurtured, as well as the 40th anniversary of the team’s historic victory of two national championships. Our university and our city owes him a lot of gratitude for putting Tulsa on the map just when women’s golf was gaining momentum.

“She brought immeasurable fame to TU and continued to support our athletic programs for decades. We mourn this tremendous loss and extend our condolences to Dale’s family and friends.

McNamara led Tulsa to 22 national tournament appearances and, in addition to her four national titles, was a five-time national runner-up. In addition to 81 tournament titles, McNamara teams have finished runners-up 30 times. His teams earned a school single-season record of eight tournament wins during the 1976-77, 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons.

She has coached 28 first and second team All-Americans and produced 32 professional golfers.

“Coach Dale will be greatly missed by those who played for her and by our current players,” Tulsa coach Annie Young said. “She put TU on the women’s golf map with her many championships and dominating game. She was a great support for the program during my time coaching in Tulsa. My thoughts are with his two daughters, Melissa and Cathy, at this difficult time.”

McNamara led TU to the NCAA and AIAW titles in 1982, as well as the 1980 AIAW title and the 1988 NCAA championship. Three of his golfers also won individual national crowns: Nancy Lopez, Kathy Baker and Melissa McNamara. In 1988, at the national tournament, his daughter, Melissa, was an NCAA medalist.

Melissa (McNamara) Luellen is now the coach of Auburn’s women’s golf team. The statement said Melissa and her daughter Cathy stood by McNamara during his passing.

McNamara wrapped up her coaching career in the 1999-2000 season as Tulsa won the WAC championship and made it into the NCAAS. McNamara also served as assistant athletic director during her tenure at Tulsa.

McNamara has won a record seven Oklahoma State amateur golf titles.

In 1988 McNamara was inducted into the National Collegiate Golf Coaches Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and received the Jim Thorpe Association’s “Legends in Sports” award, both in 2003. McNamara was inducted into the TU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association (WOGA) Hall of Fame in 2006.

A celebration of life for Dale McNamara is scheduled for Monday, November 28 at 3 p.m. local time at Sharp Chapel on the Tulsa campus.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations in Coach Dale McNamara’s honor be made to the University of Tulsa to support the women’s golf program.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek