Stephen Curry made an impact on the future of golf on Monday in the nation’s capital, committing a seven-figure sum over six years to start Howard University’s first Division I men’s and women’s golf programs.
Curry was on-hand for the announcement at D.C.’s historic, publicly-accessible Langston Golf Course, along with university president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick and athletic director Kery Davis.
The two-time NBA MVP will fund the program in full for its first six seasons while the athletic department can raise funds to permanently continue the program into the future. Though Howard has fielded men’s and women’s club- and varsity-level teams in the past, this is the first time both programs will compete in Division I. Howard University competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which sanctions men’s golf but does not sanction women’s golf, so the Howard Bison women’s program will be an independent.
Callaway Golf CEO Chip Brewer was on hand for the announcement, as his company will outfit the men’s and women’s programs for equipment. Under Armour will partner with Howard for all golf apparel and footwear.
Curry’s involvement derived from a January 2019 visit to the Howard campus to share a documentary film he was supporting. After the screening, Curry spoke with Otis Ferguson IV, a Howard University Senior and golfer who approached Curry. The two formed a bond, as Ferguson sought to restore a golf program at the school. As the NBA season came to a close, Curry sought to find a way to help Ferguson and create the Division I program for men and women. Connecting with his partners and using his personal wealth, Curry did it.
Having the support of a sports giant like @StephenCurry30 as we develop the 1st-ever NCAA Division 1 Men’s & Women’s Golf Program at Howard is incredible. We are excited for the opportunity this brings our students.
Hats off to 3rd-generation legacy student Otis Ferguson IV!💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/V8rbQA9IDB
— Howard University (@HowardU) August 19, 2019
“Golf is a sport that has changed my life in ways that are less tangible, but just as impactful,” said Curry.
“It’s a discipline that challenges your mental wherewithal from patience to focus, and is impossible to truly master, so when you hear about these passionate student athletes who have the talent but don’t have a fair shot at the game, it’s tough. I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University, and look forward to building their first men’s and women’s golf teams with them.”
Curry has been an avid golfer for years, competing as an amateur in the Korn Ferry Tour’s stop at TPC Stonebrae and in the NBC-owned American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. He has sought to host a PGA Tour event in the coming years, and he is executive producer of ABC’s mini-golf-themed show, “Holey Moley.”
The program is expected to start with the 2020-2021 academic year, giving the athletic department time to hire staff, recruit players and establish other details.