Longtime golf coach to retire
After 39 seasons as a head coach at the UA, 34 of which were spent as the men’s golf coach, Rick LaRose will retire at the end of the season, athletic director Greg Byrne announced Tuesday.
“It is difficult to overstate the impact Coach LaRose has had on our golf programs,” Byrne said in a press release. “For nearly four decades, he has built Arizona into one of the elite names in all of college golf.”
LaRose will retire on July 1 and take on a new role as part-time special assistant to Byrne. His duties will include fundraising events with a focus on raising money for a golf practice facility. A national search for LaRose’s replacement will begin immediately.
The native of Delmar, N.Y., wasn’t always the head golf coach. He started his coaching career at Arizona as the men’s head water polo coach and assistant swim coach in 1973. After leading the water polo team to four NCAA regional championships and three fifth-place finishes at the NCAA championships, LaRose took the reins as men’s head golf coach in 1978-79, and has thrived ever since.
In 1992, LaRose led the golf team to a national championship victory. In 1996, he started pulling double duty as the women’s golf coach, leading them to a championship win as well. With those victories, LaRose became the first coach in NCAA history to win a championship in both men’s and women’s golf.
LaRose’s teams have also won two NCAA titles, seven NCAA regional championships, four Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles.
“I’ve been fortunate to have coached so many outstanding student-athletes,” LaRose said in the press release, “and I take a great deal of pride in what we were able to accomplish together. I’ve coached so many great kids, worked with so many great people and have so many great memories.”
Since 1978, LaRose’s golf teams have won 62 men’s tournaments and 19 women’s tourneys. He also has produced seven national players of the year, 11 Pac-10 Players of the Year, 68 All-Americans, 109 all-Pac-10 Conference performers, two United States Amateur winners (and three runner-ups), five United States Walker Cup players, a pair of Ryder Cup golfers, a U.S. President’s Cup performer and three United States Publinx champions.
Notable professional golfers to have played under LaRose include Jim Furyk, Ricky Barnes, Rory Sabbatini and Marisa Baena, among others.
The Wildcats open the Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championships on Friday in Corvallis, Ore.