Men's golf head coach Rod Myers passed away Friday evening at the Duke University Medical Center after losing his battle with leukemia. He was 67 years old.
A member of the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame and a head coach for 41 years-34 of which were at Duke-Myers had a profound impact on the sport, his players and the University.
"Rod Myers was a good friend, a great teacher and a role model for all student-athletes," Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. "He was also a great father and husband and a person everybody respected and loved.... Duke University will dearly miss him."
Although Myers' professional accolades speak for themselves-he was a former president and treasurer of the Golf Coaches Association of America, a member of the PGA and USGA Rules Committees, former chairman of the NCAA Golf Committee and a Master PGA Professional-the coach took the most pride in the accomplishments of his players, both on and off the course.
In his 34 years in Durham, Myers coached 16 All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans and 24 All-ACC selections. Through the process of raising the Duke program to national prominence, he also made it into a family.
"Losing Rod is like losing a brother. Even more, it's like losing a favorite brother," women's golf head coach Dan Brooks said. "His humor, his caring way, his 'touch' with all who knew him; he was the favorite brother in a huge and wonderful family that he created, simply by being himself. Rod Myers has coached us all, on how to live our lives."
Myers helped to shape the games and lives of young golfers, and the success of his life's work is evident in their accomplishments.
Current PGA Tour member and former Duke golfer Joe Ogilvie attributed his ability to achieve both personally and professionally to the time he spent at Duke under the guidance of Myers.
"I think the best coaches have the ability to mold their players into better men first and then make them better players second. Coach Myers had this ability," Ogilvie said. "I matured and became a more complete person my four years under Coach and that translated into success both on and off the golf course."
The passing of Myers has not only deeply affected the Duke golf community but the national one as well-with everyone from coaches at other universities to officials in the nation's most important golf associations mourning the loss of one of their own.
Most agree that Myers set the standard when it came to how to run a college program.
"If someone's looking for a model of how academics, athletics and ethics can be melded together to integrate college sport into the overall college experience, one need only look at the manner in which Coach Myers conducted himself and led the Duke men's golf team," USGA Executive Director David Fay said. "My life is richer for having known Rod Myers."
Myers is survived by his wife, Nancy, their three daughters-Kelly Elliott, Kathy McKinney and Kristen-and their five grandchildren.
He also has left an indelible mark on the Duke golf program and all those who he taught and cared for.
"This is a difficult time for everyone who loved Rod, but we have all been blessed by having known him," interim head golf coach and close friend Brad Sparling said. "He made us all better people. The family that is Duke golf that Coach Myers created will move forward, we will continue to build on his legacy of greatness."
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