Golfstat founder Laesch, Stanford's Ray among 2017 GCAA Hall of Fame class

Golfstat founder Laesch, Stanford's Ray among 2017 GCAA Hall of Fame class

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Golfstat founder Laesch, Stanford's Ray among 2017 GCAA Hall of Fame class

The Golf Coaches Association of America has revealed its 2017 Hall of Fame class, with five set to be inducted in December.

Golfstat found Mark Laesch and four coaches – Conrad Ray of Stanford, Gardner-Webb’s Garland Allen, Paul Chavez of Odessa College and West Florida’s Steve Fell – will make up the 2017 class, the GCAA announced Thursday.

Laesch and Allen will be honored posthumously. The induction will officially take place at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet in Las Vegas on Monday, Dec. 11.

Laesch passed away earlier this year after a lengthy battle with ALS. But his impact with Golfstat and his passion for college golf changed the sport.

The GCAA and Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) announced in May the creation of the Mark Laesch Award, presented to the team that showed the greatest improvement from the previous season in adjusted stroke average.

Ray is in his 13th year as head coach at Stanford, leading the Cardinal to a national title in 2007 (he was named Dave Williams National Coach of the Year that season as well). Overall, Stanford has qualified for NCAAs 11 times and won three Pac-12 titles under Ray.

Two players, Patrick Rodgers and Maverick McNealy, have won the Haskins Award presented by Stifel under Ray’s direction. Players have also garnered dozens of All-America honors under Ray, who also coached the 2008 U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup squad.

Prior to his time coaching at Stanford, Ray played for the Cardinal. He was a member of the school’s 1994 national title squad.

Allen, who passed away in 2014, started at Gardner-Webb in 1961 and began his golf coaching career the following year. He would stay in that role for 27 years before retiring.

Allen earned back-to-back NAIA national titles in 1976 and ’77 and overall directed his team to nine appearances in the NAIA National Tournament.

Chavez is currently in his 21st season heading Odessa College. He’s a five-time winner of the NJCAA National Coach of the Year award, doing so most recently in 2017.

The Wranglers have won three national championships in Chavez’s tenure and overall finished top five nationally 13 times.

Fell has been leading West Florida since 1994. He started out as head coach but was named director of golf for the Argonauts prior to the 2011-12 season.

West Florida won national titles in 2001 and 2008 under Fell.

Fell is a two-time Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award winner and was named Gulf South Conference Coach of the Decade in the summer of 2010.

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