LU Golf Tees Off for Another Championship
LU's golf team won last year's national crown with a mostly-white team, although the university's black heritage allows it to compete for the minority championship.
"Lincoln is a historically black college and university," said Coach Jerry Coffman. "And that is what the original setup of the tournament was."
Coffman has coached Lincoln golf for the past 16 years, including those 4 national championships. He said the scrutiny his teams get is undeserved.
"They don't realize that we're trying to get the best golfers," he explained. "And it's not necessarily based on race."
Coffman also said Lincoln is not the only team at the tournament with few minority players.
"Most of the teams that are down there are international students or white players," he added, "even though they're going to black schools."
But, the Blue Tigers don't have a complete "white-out" on their team.
Keith Ware and Rodolfo Gamino are the only minorites on the team. Last year, Ware competed at the minority championships. He says race is not an issue for him when he's on the course.
"I'm just looked at as another golfer," he said, "similiar to another sport."
Gamino is from the country of Mexico. He says playing for LU has its ups and downs.
"It's been hard because of the language and the culture," he admitted. "But, for the most part, it's been fun."
The Blue Tigers said the only colors that matter are the white ball and the green course.
"If it's golf, I think we are all in the same channel so I don't think it will be different," said Ware. "Until we can get the amount of African Americans to put down the basketball and football and play golf, it's going to be like this for a while."
The Blue Tigers' season tees off March 6.
The National Minority College Golf Championships are May 4-7 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.