LGPA Tour veteran Angela Stanford concerned about TCU golf news

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LGPA Tour veteran and TCU alumna Angela Stanford expressed frustration and disappointment with the TCU’s decision not to renew longtime men’s golf coach Bill Montigel’s contract.

Special for ST/Ray Carlin

Angela Stanford is one of the most accomplished and decorated athletes in the history of TCU’s athletic department, and she comes from a place of concern for her alma mater.

When she saw that longtime men’s golf coach Bill Montigel’s contract wouldn’t be renewed after the 2022-23 season, she decided to speak up.

“I would say I’m frustrated, and I have been for a while,” Stanford said in a phone interview Wednesday. “And when I saw that Bill was not renewed, it made me think that we are not committed to doing better moving forward. If you want to become better than Bill Montigel, who are you going to have ?

Montigel, 68, has been TCU’s men’s golf coach for 35 years.

The decision not to retain Montigel for at least a few more years has puzzled prominent members of the TCU athletic community, starting with Stanford.

His concern relates specifically to TCU’s golf program, men’s and women’s, but it could apply to other sports as well.

She dated the TCU long before he joined the Big 12 and Power 5.

Her worry is rooted in fear that she might be left behind. Most people associated with the university at all levels simply do not want to see it return to second-tier status.

A Saginaw native and current resident of Fort Worth, she was a four-time All-American graduate of TCU and has been on the LPGA Tour since 2001. She has won seven LPGA Tour events, including the US Women’s Open in 2018.

It’s not like 44-year-old Angela Stanford has been known to stand on top of Fort Worth’s tallest building and complain. She is fiercely loyal and protective of her alma mater.

She’s also quiet enough that you’ll listen to her when she talks.

“I have a lot of friends who coach golf or play on the Tour, and when we go to their schools and see their facilities, it’s not even close,” she said. “If I’m a high school kid and it comes down to TCU or Ole Miss, I go to Ole Miss. We (TCU) do not have a facility.

“When you see what they have, that’s what (student-athletes) want. TCU doesn’t have that. TCU was good thanks to Bill and (women’s golf coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin); TCU doesn’t know how bad they got it because of those two. They know everyone and that’s how they were able to do it.

Since joining the Big 12, the men’s and women’s golf programs have ranked around the middle.

TCU does not have a home course, per se, where a player shows up and practices.

What TCU has are relationships with the five major country clubs in the area: Colonial, Shady Oaks, River Crest, Ridglea and Mira Vista.

Telling a high school rookie that they can play courses like Colonial or Shady Oaks is a selling point and an attraction. However, the mechanics of this one are dated.

If a member of the TCU golf team wants to play a game or practice in their spare time, it usually takes Larkin or Montigel to make a phone call.

Montigel has been with the athletic department since the early 1980s and Larkin has been the women’s golf coach since 1994. They know everyone associated with these clubs to facilitate it all.

Larkin and Montigel have fielded successful teams without needing all the toys that other programs have added in the race for the expensive facilities of full-scale college athletics.

“I never believed that TCU needed its own course; the big five have been so nice to TCU that it’s an asset to play on all these different courses,” Stanford said. “But what worked for me 25 years ago won’t work on a rookie today.

“They go to these schools and they see classes, they see locker rooms, they see a place to practice their short game. All. They need something.

TCU’s challenge, when it comes to this issue, is money. Ironic for a university with a $2.1 billion endowment.

Investing in a non-profit sport, especially a sport like golf, for an athletic department is usually a pain in the butt that the administration doesn’t want to do.

It normally falls to the coach to recruit a few influential boosters to throw six or seven figures knowing that there is no real return.

Recall does this because he loves school, coach, sports, and quitting.

TCU really doesn’t have the land to build a “home course” or five-hole par-3.

Some members of the TCU administration would like to forge a relationship with Colonial, which would include a facility at the country club.

The concept is to build a small facility with changing rooms and driving range access etc.

It could also serve as a means of doing business for members of the TCU administration. A lot of business is done on a golf course.

This is all just a concept. To make this type of installation a reality requires both space and money.

“We were competitive because of the coaches who did everything they could to recruit,” Stanford said. “That’s what I loved about Bill and Angie. They did it.

“But they need help.”

It’s not like Angela Stanford to publicly criticize her alma mater.

She speaks for a reason.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist with extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He covered high schools, colleges, the big four sports teams as well as the Olympics and the world of entertainment. It combines dry wit and first-person reporting to complement an almost unfair hairdo.
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Michael C. Ford