By Andy Solomon
Almost every fan of Citadel Athletics is aware of football’s two Southern Conference Championships and the many, many titles that the baseball team has accumulated over the decades.
Some are even aware of the tennis crown and track and field titles that The Citadel captured in the early 1960s and even the wrestling titles.
But here’s one that probably slipped your mind: In 1964, The Citadel won the league’s golf championship.
And what a surprise it was.
The ’64 team had won only two of 11 dual matches during the regular season and finished third in the state intercollegiate match.
However, the group put it all together and took first place at the ’64 Southern Conference Championships, topping eight other teams.
Talk about peaking at the right time!
The site of the championship was the Dunes Golf Club in Myrtle Beach and Bill Etheridge ’64, along with Charles Collett of George Washington University, tied for medalist honors with an impressive two-round total of 151.
While there are football championship banners at Johnson Hagood Stadium and recognition at Riley Park for baseball and a wrestling banner in McAlister Field House (with one more planned to be unfurled next year), there is no place to showcase the golf team’s achievement because we have no “home” golf course nor do we even have a men’s golf team anymore (the sport was discontinued after the 2005 season).
On Saturday, January 25, during halftime of the Western Carolina basketball game, the Department of Athletics will unveil another banner in McAlister Field House to honor the ’64 golf team, the lone squad ever to collect a Southern Conference Championship in that sport.
Ten members of that team are expected to return and they include Etheridge, Buddy Brooks ’66, Doug Carnes ’64, Nelson DuRant ’66, Bob Coleman ’66, Ed Grimball ’66, Terry Hull ’65, Tommy Maybank ’65, Bill Powell ’64 and Bob Stafford ’65.
It will be the first time that the group collectively will return to campus.
And it will be the first time in a half-century that this group will be able to recall the long drives, approach shots and both made and missed putts together.
It will be a homecoming for a band of brothers who put it all together for two consecutive days and shined like the champions they are.
Truthfully, this recognition is long overdue. And while you may have missed the fact that The Citadel golf team won a Southern Conference Championship, you don’t want to miss the facial expression of this team when their belated banner is unfurled.
And amongst the many smiles and congratulations that team will showcase, don’t be surprised to see a tear or two as this group, like all championship teams, is special.