GREENVILLE, S.C. – Men's golf will not end at Furman after all.
The university approved a plan submitted by the school's golf alumni and supporters to provide short-term operating money and establish an endowment to fund the program.
On Feb. 7, the Board of Trustees had stunned the program, which dates to the early 1930s, by announcing that men's golf would end after this spring.
Carl Kohrt, Furman's interim president, said the funding plan will provide the necessary support to keep the Paladins competitive in the Southern Conference and NCAA Division I while allowing the school to retain the cost savings consistent with the board's original decision.
Brad Faxon, a 1983 Furman graduate and eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, hailed the breakthrough.
"We are all proud alums of the Furman golf program, and none of us wanted to see it discontinued," Faxon said in a news release. "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, a 1971 Furman graduate and chairman of the Board of Trustees, said the university was impressed with the response of Furman's golf alumni.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Rob Langley, a 2005 graduate and golfer who helped lead the alumni initiative, called the plan "a win-win" for the program and the school. "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."