ATHENS, G.A. — The University of Georgia’s Chris Haack, a two-time National Coach of the Year, and Nanci Bowen, an All-American and LPGA major winner, have been chosen for induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, according to an announcement Tuesday by the Georgia State Golf Association.
The induction banquet will take place Saturday, January 16, 2016, at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Joining Haack and Bowen in the Class of 2016 will be Stewart Maiden, James Mason and C. Layne Williams.
“I know I speak for Nanci and myself when I say that it is a tremendous honor for both of us,” Haack said. “I’m proud that we can bring this type of recognition to our school and our program. It’s humbling to enter a hall of fame, especially when you see the caliber of men and women already in there. Georgia Golf had a solid foundation built by men and women like Howell Hollis, Dick Copas, Liz Murphey and Beans Kelly, and I’ve just tried to be a good steward of it. We as coaches are only as successful as our players and I’ve been lucky enough to coach some pretty special guys. I just appreciate them bringing me along for the ride.”
Haack has been the Bulldogs’ head coach since the 1996-97 season and will be the first collegiate coach inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. He has led the Bulldogs to a school-record 56 tournament victories, including the 1999 and 2005 national championships and seven SEC titles.
Haack was chosen as the National Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2005 and earned SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2010. He has produced 54 All-Americans and 13 Scholar All-Americans. Haack’s golfers have earned 58 All-SEC certificates, including four SEC Players of the Year and seven SEC Freshmen of the Year.
In 2012, Haack added the position of UGA’s Director of Golf. He serves as the liaison between the Athletic Association and the UGA Golf Course and he oversees the Boyd Center and the adjacent practice facilities.
Haack was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in December of 2012, joining Georgia predecessors Hollis and Copas.
Haack will be the 14th man with connections to the Bulldogs’ program to enter the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. He will join Tommy Barnes, Arnold Blum, David Boyd, Frank Eldridge, Jimmy Gabrielsen, George Hamer, Lyn Lott, Jack Lumpkin, Billy McWilliams, Peter Persons, Hugh Royer, Tim Simpson and Danny Yates.
Bowen played for Georgia from 1985-89 following a standout junior career. Born in Tifton, Georgia, Bowen attended Tift County High School. She won the GSGA’s Georgia Girls’ Championships in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984.
“It’s hard to believe,” Bowen said. “I don’t think it has really sunk in yet, really. I had good results in junior and college golf but winning that major is what really propelled me to the next level. I’m just thrilled to be mentioned in the same company with all of those other great golfers from the state of Georgia.”
At Georgia, Bowen was a two-time All-America selection. In 1987, she was the individual runner-up at the SEC Championships, and in 1989, finished sixth at the NCAA Championships. Bowen helped Georgia claim the 1988 SEC Championship and finish second and sixth in the team field at the 1988 and 1989 NCAAs, respectively.
During her collegiate career, Bowen was a semifinalist at the 1987 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and won the 1988 Trans-National Championship. Also as an amateur, she qualified for and competed in five U.S. Women’s Open Championships.
Bowen turned professional and joined the LPGA Tour in 1990. She captured her first professional victory at the Nabisco Dinah Shore in 1995, one of the LPGA’s major championships. Bowen crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings in 2002. She was a member of the LPGA Tour Player Executive Committee from 1999 to 2001 and served as Vice President in 2001.
Bowen currently resides in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, and is currently teaching golf in Greenville, South Carolina.
Bowen is just the second Georgia women’s golfer inducted in the hall of fame, joining 2012 inductee Vicki Goetze-Ackerman.