NBA superstar Stephen Curry is making one of his favorite sports outside basketball more accessible to students of color. On August 19, Curry pledged a seven-figure donation to relaunch Howard University’s dormant golf program for both men and women, providing the opportunity for black golfers to play the sport competitively at the Division I level.
Having the support of a sports giant like @StephenCurry30 as we develop the 1st-ever NCAA Division 1 Men’s & Women’s Golf Program at Howard is incredible. We are excited for the opportunity this brings our students.— Howard University (@HowardU) August 19, 2019
Hats off to 3rd-generation legacy student Otis Ferguson IV!💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/V8rbQA9IDB
Curry’s visit to Howard’s Washington, D.C., campus earlier this year for a screening of “Emanuel,” a documentary Curry helped produce about the 2015 mass shooting at a church in Charleston, SC, inspired his decision to help resurrect Howard’s golf program. After chatting with Howard student and avid golfer Otis Ferguson about their shared love of golf—and Ferguson’s difficult decision to turn down playing collegiate golf in order to attend Howard—Curry felt compelled to do something.
“Every student had a passion, a vision something they wanted to do to change something at Howard, something they wanted to do to change the world,” Curry said. “Otis, we connected in golf in terms of passion for the game, in terms of what the game has taught both of us. The idea of recreating Howard’s golf team, turning it into a Division I program for men and women was born that night.”
Among collegiate golfers, only about 6 percent are African American, Latino or Native American. As part of Curry’s commitment to increasing diversity in sports, he is working with the university on collaborative efforts to improve participation rates among black golfers and make collegiate golf more accessible and affordable for students regardless of socioeconomic background.
With Howard officials calling Curry’s donation to the historically black university “one of the most generous gifts in the history of Howard University,” the funds — to be distributed over the next six years while an endowment fund is created — will go toward hiring coaching staff, providing athletic scholarships and covering other program costs.
In addition to Curry’s donation, global sporting goods company Callaway Golf will provide clubs and equipment to Howard golfers, while Under Armour — with whom Curry has an endorsement deal — will provide shoes and other gear to the teams. In return, Howard golfers will volunteer with Eat. Learn. Play., a foundation recently established by Curry and his wife, Ayesha, to promote positive youth development.