A friend of a friend-Jerry Owen and Lacey Gane-January 10

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for January 10, 2015. I mistakently delete this post a few hour after posting. Trying to recreate

I got hired in 1977 at Pembroke State University which is now called UNC Pembroke. I got hired as Assistant Basketball Coach. The Head Coach was Joe Gallagher who to this date is sill the university’s all-time scorer. Joe has replaced his college coach Lacey Gane who in 1974 gave up coaching to focus strickly on being the Director of Athletics.

Lacey was a Coach’s Coach and a disciple of all things Vince Lombardi. He and I become great friends over the years. He passed away on February 10, 1998. He had five great children Butch, Jim, Sterve, Natalie, and Dwight. His wife was a sweetheart and her name Alene.

Lacey was a competitior and loved to look for the advantage in any situation. He loved to play golf, have a drink with the fellows, play cards, and tell stories. Oh boy could he tell stories and enjoyed stories. In addition to being the basketball coach and athletic director Lacey was also Pembroke’s Golf Coach. The entire time Lacey was at Pemboke they were NAIA.

As I said Lacey loved to play golf and he knew every member and what their game was at his home course of Pinecrest Country Club in Lumberton. In fact his son Dwght is the Golf Pro there today. One day in a weely choose up match Lacey got paired up with a new member. That member was Jerry Owen who was a Army Recruiter recently stationed in Lumberton. Jerry was a good golfer and Lacey noticed. Jerry had indicated that he would finish up his Army career in Lumberton and eventualy go back to college.

Before Jerry retired from the Army Lacey would notice Jerry playing plenty of rounds of par golf at Pinecrest. Jerry was always the same he was driving the golf cart, drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette, and making par. One day Lacey began to question the mid 40 year old Owen what his previous college attendance had been. Lacey surmised that Jerry Owen under NAIA rules had at least one season of college eligibility left. He tried to encourage Jerry to attend Pembroke and become of the college golf scene. Jerry response was always no way-he wasn’t interested in college golf.

The friend-LACEY GANE


The friend of the friend-JERRY OWEN


In one of Lacey’s golf season he had a rash of players become ineligible or leave school in January and forced him to deal with a roster that only had 4 players. In college golf you can enter 5 players who walk 18 holes over two consecutive days. Some tournaments the players would walk 36 holes and there are no caddies in college golf each player carries his own bag.

Lacey ran into Jerry at Pinecrest and fond out that Jerry had retired and enrolled at Pembroke. Jerry was pursuing a business degree and was thinking about banking. Lacey had the team’s first tournament coming up in March over Pembroke’s spring break in Florida. He tried to convince Jerry to come by the office let’s get your eligibilty submitted. You don’t have to practice and you get to go to Florida and play college golf. I pay for everything, meals, golf, and lodging. Jerry thought about it and relunctly said yes with a condition. He was drving his van to Florida and staying the whole week. He would get his own hotel room and meet the team at tournament. Lacey agreed.

The morning of the tournament Lacey and Pembroke golf team go tothe course in Florida and went to the pro shop to check on tee times. They spotted Jerry’s van in the parking lot. When they got into the pro shop they were told Pembroke you tee off in 30 minutes. In addition the pro told Lacey “you owe me $20 for the guy who got a golf cart.”

Lacey was incredulous what guy. The pro described a big guy in his 40’s wearing a PSU glf shirt who said the coach is paying for my cart. He took the cart and is out on the range. Lacey spotted Jerry Owen sitting in a golf cart on the range with some 50 plus college golfers. Lacey storms up to the cart and sees cigarettes and beer on the seat and floorboard. Lacey ask Jerry why did you get a cart and tell the pro I would pay for it?

Jerry looked at Lacey dumbfounded and got angry. You told me that if I came to this college tournament you would pay for everything. at this moment Lacey surmised that Jerry thought he could use a cart in a college tournament. Lacey told Jerry straight up “it’s college golf, no beer, no cigarettes, and you carry your own bag”. Jerry looked at Lacey and said you expect me to carry my own bag, walk 18 holes, and don’t drink or smoke? Lacey responded yes.

Jerry got his clubs off the cart and told Lacey “I can’t play fucking golf in these college conditions” I’m going to the beach and catch some rays.

Lacey jumped in the cart he paid for and watched 4 golfers play in a tournament. The NAIA way.


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