Stephen Curry provides six years of funding for Howard University’s first Division I golf program
Senior Otis Ferguson IV had tried for years to launch a golf team at Howard University. He printed flyers, held interest meetings with prospective team members and even reached out to a nonprofit that offered to provide golf equipment. Yet, the team never got off the ground.
But that is about to change, thanks to Ferguson’s encounter at Howard earlier this year with NBA superstar Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who, like Ferguson, is an avid golfer. In January, Howard hosted a screening of Emanuel, a documentary about the 2015 massacre of nine black worshipers by a white supremacist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Curry was executive producer of the film, and afterward, he was the star of a panel discussion about its creation. Ferguson made it his business to be there.
“I told my friends that I am about to go meet Steph Curry real quick,” Ferguson recalled in an interview. And when he did, Ferguson told Curry about his love of golf and his quest to form a team at Howard. He also suggested, “Let’s play golf.”
His words caught Curry’s ear, even though they did not play golf right away. The two stayed in touch by email, and within months, Curry made it known that he wanted to sponsor a golf team at Howard, allowing the university to compete at the intercollegiate level for the first time in decades.
The promise was made official Monday as Curry returned to Washington to announce his commitment to fund the men’s and women’s golf teams for six years. In remarks made at the historic Langston Golf Course in Northeast Washington, Curry credited Ferguson for pursuing his dream and having the gumption to talk to him about it back in January.
“The idea around recreating Howard’s golf team and turning it into a Division I program for men and women was born on that specific night,” Curry said. “Now, 7½ or eight months later, we’re here.”
Kery Davis, Howard’s athletic director, called Curry’s donation “one of the most generous gifts in the history of Howard University.” Officials did not reveal the size of Curry’s donation, although it is estimated to be worth several million dollars. The money will be used to hire a coach, cover the cost of recruiting and fund three, or perhaps four, full scholarships for the men’s and women’s teams that will begin playing in the 2020-21 school year.
Besides the cash donation from Curry to be paid out over six years, the university will receive clubs and equipment from golf manufacturer and Curry partner Callaway Golf. The team also will receive shoes and other gear from Under Armour, another Curry partner that already supplies the university’s other athletic teams.