Dale McNamara is a legendary coach for women’s college golf who helped to build the Tulsa program. He dies at 86

Oct, 2022

Dale McNamara was a legendary college golf coach and helped to launch the women’s program at Tulsa. She also coached Nancy Lopez . He died Sunday following a second battle with cancer. She was 86.

McNamara was head coach for the Tulsa women’s golf program from 1974 to 2000. She brought the Golden Hurricane to national prominence. She was awarded four national titles and won 81 tournaments. She led Tulsa to second place at the AIAW National Championship in her second season.

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Brad R. Carson, president of Tulsa, stated in a release that Dale was a fierce competitor, a caring coach, and a Golden Hurricane through-and-through. It is fitting that Dale lived to witness the 50th anniversary Title IX, which was the foundation of the program, and the 40th anniversary the team’s historic victory in two national championships. Tulsa’s success in putting Tulsa on top of the golf world at a time when women’s golf was growing is a credit to her.

“She brought an immeasurable amount to TU and supported our athletics programs throughout the decades. We are deeply sorry for this loss and offer our condolences to Dale’s loved ones.

McNamara was the leader of Tulsa’s 22 national tournament appearances. She also won four national titles and finished fifth in national runner-up five more times. McNamara’s teams were second 30 times, in addition to the 81 tournament titles. In the 1976-77 season, 1983-84, and 1984-85 seasons, McNamara’s teams won eight tournament titles.

She was a coach for 28 All-Americans, and 32 pro golfers.

Annie Young, Tulsa coach, said that Coach Dale will be greatly missed by all who played for her. With their many championships, dominant play and outstanding results, she put TU on top in women’s golf. She has been an invaluable support during my time at Tulsa. I am thinking of Melissa and Cathy during this difficult time.

McNamara was the TU’s leader to the 1982 NCAA and AIAW championships, along with the 1980 AIAW title as well as the 1988 NCAA championship. Nancy Lopez, Kathy Baker, and Melissa McNamara were also national individual champions. Her daughter Melissa was the NCAA medalist at the 1988 national tournament.

Melissa (McNamara), Luellen is now Auburn’s women’s golf coach. According to the release, Melissa and her daughter Cathy were by McNamara’s sides when she died.

McNamara ended her coaching career as Tulsa won both the WAC Championship and was named NCAAS. During her time at Tulsa, McNamara was also an assistant athletic director.

McNamara won seven Oklahoma State Amateur Golf titles, a record.

McNamara was elected to the National Collegiate Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988. Inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, she was also a recipient of “Legends in Sports”, both from the Jim Thorpe Association in 2003. McNamara was inducted in the TU Athletic Hall of Fame (1998) and the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association’s (WOGA) Hall of Fame (2006).

On Monday, Nov. 28, at 3 p.m., local time, a celebration of Dale McNamara’s Life will be held at Sharp Chapel on Tulsa campus.

The family requests that flowers not be sent. Instead, gifts in Coach Dale McNamara’s memory can be made to University of Tulsa for the support of the women’s golf program.


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