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McLennan golf coach selected for Hall of Fame induction

McLennan golf coach selected for Hall of Fame induction

McLennan Community College men's golf coach Vince Clark is one of four honorees in the 2016 NJCAA Men's Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame class. Joining Clark is the first female member, Meridian (Mississippi) golfer and coach Lou Weddington Hart, former Kansas City Kansas golfer Robert Russell and Bridgestone Golf tour representative Todd Corum. Bios for each inductee were provided by the NJCAA.
Vince Clark, Coach – McLennan
From the classroom to the courtroom, golf course and beyond, Vince Clark is a proven winner. Since his hiring as an assistant coach in 2000, he has taken his formula for success and applied it to the McLennan golf program.

Following a seven-year stint as an assistant, Clark was promoted to head coach of the Highlanders in 2007. Wasting no time putting McLennan back into national contention, it took just two years for Clark to lead his team to the top of the leaderboards. The Highlanders claimed victory at the 2009 NJCAA DI Men's Golf Championship, winning their program's second national title and first since 1984. McLennan was crowned national champions again in 2010, becoming the first team in school history to win back-to-back national titles in any sport.

Under Clark's tutelage, nine McLennan golfers have received NJCAA All-America honors. His student-athletes have also produced in the classroom with six individuals earning NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards. Five of Clark's teams have met the 3.0 cumulative grade-point average requirement for NJCAA Team Academic Award honorable mention.

Earning bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Baylor University, Clark has served as a history professor at McLennan since 1994. Clark also owns a law degree from Baylor that he utilized for five years as a lawyer in Tyler, Texas, prior to returning to Waco to earn his master's in 1991. He then spent two years in graduate school at the University of Virginia before returning to the Lone Star State in 1994.
Lou Weddington Hart, Golfer/Coach – Meridian (Mississippi)
Widely recognized as the most prolific female golfer in the history of the Magnolia State, former Meridian student-athlete and coach Lou Weddington Hart becomes the first woman to be inducted into the NJCAA Men's Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Arriving at Meridian in 1970 – two years prior to the enactment of Title IX – Hart became the first female to play for a men's golf team in the state of Mississippi. Despite the historical significance of her participation, it was her success on the golf course that earned her recognition. Hart's talents propelled the Eagles to consecutive Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) conference titles in 1971 and 1972. Her accolades extended to the classroom where she received the H.M. Ivy Award from Meridian – the institution's highest honor for a student's achievements in the classroom and community.

In 1972, Hart transferred to Florida State where she earned an athletic scholarship playing for the women's team. After claiming women's state amateur titles in 1972 and 1973, Hart qualified for the 1974 AIAW Golf Championship – a predecessor of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship.

Over the course of three decades as an amateur golfer, Hart compiled nine Mississippi Women's Golf Association state amateur titles. She was a quarterfinalist at the 1978 Women's Southern Golf Association (WSGA) Amateur Championship, qualifier for the 1979 USGA National Women's Amateur Championship and two-time medalist in the USGA Women's Mid-Amateur Championship in 1987 and 1991. At the 2003 USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship, Hart earned a tie for sixth place after the 36-hole qualifier.

Returning to Meridian in 1994, Hart assumed the position of head coach for the Eagles men's golf team. During her tenure, Meridian compiled seven NJCAA Region 23 championships and claimed a runner-up finish at the 1998 NJCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship – the highest finish in program history. At the time of her retirement from Meridian in 2006, Hart had coached 12 NJCAA All-Americans, eight regional medalists and four NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Award winners.

A charter member of both the Meridian and MACJC halls of fame, Hart was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 – joining her father Hunter George Weddington to become the first father-daughter duo in the hall's history.

Robert Russell, Golfer – Kansas City Kansas
Finding success on and off the course throughout the last quarter of a century, Robert Russell took full advantage of the opportunity provided to him in the NJCAA. Since his arrival at Kansas City Kansas in 1993, Russell has earned the titles of national champion, All-American, professional golfer and business owner.

During his two years with the Blue Devils, Russell claimed individual wins in 18 of the 24 events that he participated in. He became the first golfer in the history of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) to win back-to-back conference titles. Closing out his career at Kansas City Kansas at the 1997 NJCAA DI Men's Golf Championship, Russell carded a 287 to become the program's first and only individual national champion.

A highly sought-after prospect following his stint with the Blue Devils, Russell received scholarship offers from some of the NCAA's elite programs, including – Alabama, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas. Instead, he decided to follow three of his Kansas City Kansas teammates to Missouri-Kansas City. During his time with the Roos, Russell compiled seven individual victories from 1995-97. As a senior, he became the first student-athlete from Missouri-Kansas City to qualify for nationals – earning a spot in the 1997 NCAA DI Men's Golf Championship. By the time he earned his bachelor's degree in 1997, Russell departed as the career and single-season scoring average leader in Roos' history. In 2008, Missouri-Kansas City included Russell in its inaugural athletics hall of fame class.

Professionally, Russell spent eight years playing on the PGA Nationwide Tour and the National Golf Association (NGA) Hooters Pro Golf Tour. Accomplishing one of the most prestigious achievements of his career in 1999, Russell qualified for the U.S. Open. Concluding his professional golfing career in 2004, Russell has become a successful businessman as the owner and operator of Russell Lawn Care in the Kansas City area.

Todd Corum, Contributor – Bridgestone Golf
As the College Representative and PGA Tour and Developmental Tour(s) Representative for Bridgestone Golf, Todd Corum has served as an invaluable resource for member golf programs and the NJCAA Men's Golf Championships.

Through the Bridgestone's College Purchase Plan, Corum has provided NJCAA teams with discount rates for equipment. He was instrumental in the corporation furnishing balls and gloves for each year's national champion at no additional cost. Corum has also provided member institutions with discounted prize products utilized in fundraising events by colleges across the nation.