The lasting impact of a coach can influence players beyond their years here at the University of Kansas. When a group of former KU women’s golfers visited Lawrence and met women’s golf coach Lindsey Kuhle, it was clear the continued impact they would have on the future of the program. The impact would come in the form of a KU women’s golf program endowment to KU in honor of their coach Jerry Waugh.
Unfortunately, Jerry Waugh passed away September 17 in Wichita. Waugh had been associated with the University of Kansas since he became a member of the basketball team in 1948. He was a standout guard and named team captain in his senior season. In 1956, he returned to Kansas as an assistant basketball coach for Dick Harp until 1960. During that time, he pulled double duty as he was also the men's golf coach from 1958 to 1959. He left KU in 1960 but returned to his alma mater in 1974 to serve as an assistant athletic director where he worked with Olympic sports. He also worked as a liaison between the university and the athletic department and served as the men's golf coach once again in 1976. He returned to KU in 1992 to be the head women's golf coach, where he coached Holly Reynolds to a 15th-place finish in the 1993 NCAA Championship. He retired from coaching in 1999, but still remained a viable part of the University of Kansas until his death. In 1977, Waugh was also the founder and organizer of the K Club Board of Directors.
In May 2022, we announced the kickoff of the Coach Jerry Waugh Women’s Golf Endowment following anonymous lead gifts from two women’s golf alumni. This endowment will be used to directly impact the student-athlete experience. It will create some new and exciting experiences for our team like hosting tournaments, transportation, trips, and playing top courses around the country that our players will remember for the rest of their lives.
Now we are thrilled to announce an anonymous donor has offered the endowment a $50,000 match challenge to be completed by December 31, 2022. We are up for that challenge and are looking forward to additional, meaningful conversations with our most loyal program supporters, including former golf and basketball student-athletes, coaches and administrators. With this financial support, we will make enhancements to the women’s golf student-athlete experience while creating memories for a lifetime.
A lasting impact, the endowment is something Coach Waugh and Coach Kuhle shared in their coaching philosophies. When they sat down to discuss the importance of their roles as coaches and this endowment, Jerry Waugh said, “Those years that you spent with your teammates, with people, at a very important time in your life and to be able to, you know, go back, and to see those people from time to time or hear of them. That’s really what you were doing. You were touching their lives in some way, you know, that stuck. But that’s an important time in your life. You don’t realize the impact that has on your life at a certain time. But anyway, the people you were able to meet, to spend some time with and remember. I was lucky in that respect.”
The legacy that Coach Waugh left will continue to impact generations to come through this endowment. His emphasis on experience, the Jayhawk experience in particular, Coach Kuhle will carry on while remembering him. When asked what impact this endowment will have on her program, Kuhle said, “This endowment is very special in many ways. I love that it’s the first endowment for women's golf and it honors a former coach who gave so much to KU. It is special because we can honor Coach Waugh and share memories with his players who had such a memorable time here at KU with him. The endowment will help create those special memories for our current team like what these former ladies had with Coach Waugh and their teammates. It’s a very generous gift that can honor the past and create wonderful experiences for the future of KU women’s golf.”
Already in Coach Kuhle’s short time at KU, our Jayhawk women’s golfers have already achieved significant accomplishments:
- Kansas recorded two fourth-place finishes and eight top-10 placings in 2021-22.
- KU shot a program-best 54-hole tournament low score at the Wisconsin Westbrook Invitational, where the Jayhawks shot a combined 863 (-1).
- The 2021-22 Jayhawks posted a program-best five rounds of par or better.
- KU’s 299.48 scoring average in 2021-22 was the second-best for a season in KU history.
- Five Kansas women’s golfers were named to the 2022 Academic All-Big 12 Women’s Golf Team. Since the inception of the conference in 1996-97, Kansas has had 91 all-time Academic All-Big 12 honorees.
Please consider making a gift to further impact the women’s golf program in memory of Coach Jerry Waugh.