Just how advantageous can it be for a college golf program to stay connected with its alumni? If you're Alabama, it recently resulted in a much-appreciated six-figure donation to the women's golf team.
The school announced Feb. 18 that it was establishing an endowed scholarship for the women's golf team after receiving a $250,000 gift in the name of Joy McCann Culverhouse, who is set to celebrate her 95th birthday March 6.
Alabama didn't field an official women's varsity golf team until 1974-75, but McCann Culverhouse played on a club team at the school when she was an undergraduate in Tuscaloosa in the early 1940s, ultimately finishing her studies in 1942 and earning a degree in arts and sciences. While affiliated with the Crimson Tide, she became the youngest winner of the Alabama Women's State Championship in 1941 (at age 21). She went on to win that title again in 1947 and won the 1961 Florida Women's Amateur among 27 championships she claimed in her college and amateur career.
McCann Culverhouse eventually married Hugh Culverhouse Sr., a tax lawyer who owned the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers from their creation in 1976 until his death in 1994.
"I'm proud of the University of Alabama golf program," said Hugh Culverhouse Jr., McCann Culverhouse's son, who made the donation. "And I want the women's team to uphold the tradition of excellence my Mother brought to golf."
To help turn the donation into its own fundraising opportunity, Culverhouse will double the gift if others boosters can donate gifts of their own totaling $500,000.
"I am hoping that the publicity surrounding this endowment will serve to honor Joy McCann Culverhouse as the pioneer that she is, not only for the University of Alabama women's golf, but for women's amateur golf on the national level," said Alabama women's coach Mic Potter.
The initial recipient of the scholarship is Alabama freshman Lakareber Abe.