Just weeks after Furman University announced that its men's golf team would be discontinued, the school has reversed the decision thanks to a group of alumni.
The group -- which includes eight-time PGA Tour champion Brad Faxon -- will raise close to $300,000 before the start of next season that would cover the team's expenses for the next two years, according to Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner. The same group will then reportedly attempt to raise another $2 million before 2016 to keep the program alive for the foreseeable future.
"We talked with university officials, and discussed what we could do to bring the program back. Furman has a very dedicated group of men's golf alumni, and we had numerous people step up and make some very generous contributions that provided the kind of financial support the university needed."
Although uncommon, it's not unprecedented for golf teams slated for discontinuation to be saved by alumni. In 2002, for example, the University of Minnesota's men's golf team was saved by boosters and went on to win both that year's Big Ten and National Championships.
Full release below:
FURMAN UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES PLAN TO SUSTAIN MEN'S GOLF PROGRAM WITH SUPPORT OF ALUMNI GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University announced today that due to the outstanding generosity of the school's many golf alumni to provide short-term operating funds and to establish an endowment for scholarships, the men's intercollegiate golf program will not be discontinued. Furman Interim President Carl Kohrt '65 said the plan provides the necessary financial support to sustain the men's golf program at a highly competitive level while allowing the University to retain the cost reductions realized by the board's original decision. Professional golfer Brad Faxon '83, a former All-America and Fred Haskins Award winner at Furman, said the university and the alumni group worked hard to find a solution that benefitted everybody. "We are all proud alums of the Furman golf program, and none of us wanted to see it discontinued," Faxon said. "So we talked with university officials, and discussed what we could do to bring the program back. Furman has a very dedicated group of men's golf alumni, and we had numerous people step up and make some very generous contributions that provided the kind of financial support the university needed. The outpouring of support from Furman alumni and the golf community has been amazing." Richard Cullen '71, chair of Furman's Board of Trustees, said the university was elated by the enthusiasm of Furman's alumni in support of the plan. "We said at the outset that the initial decision was not an easy one, but necessary to ensure that Furman's resources support its core mission," Cullen said. "This plan maintains our position. The goodwill with which the alumni have approached us, their genuine concern about the University's well-being, and their commitment to the tradition of golf at Furman has been inspiring." "We were caught off guard by the University's decision to discontinue men's golf, but appreciate the need to appropriately steward the University's resources," said Rob Langley '05, a former member of the men's golf team who is part of a group leading the alumni effort. "This plan allows both sides to achieve a win-win. The golf alumni are re-energized and committed to doing everything possible to strengthen the men's golf program for the long-term, which includes driving successful fundraising campaigns to support the program."