Jerry Pittman ’58 drives brighter future for men’s golf

golfSMU men’s golf enters a new age of excellence with a $2 million commitment from alumnus and former SMU golfer Jerry W. Pittman ’58. The gift will endow and name the team’s head coach position, providing ongoing operational support for the program. The Jerry Pittman Head Men’s Golf Coach is the first endowed coach position in the history of SMU Athletics.

“With the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center’s completion and now this sustained financial support, the SMU men’s golf program will continue its long legacy of competitive greatness,” said Rick Hart, director of Athletics. “We are incredibly grateful for Jerry’s gift and hope it sparks future endowed coaching positions across SMU’s campus.”

Pittman competed on the SMU men’s golf team from 1956 to 1958, being crowned the Southwest Conference champion in 1957 and making third-team All-American in his senior year. Graduating with a degree in statistics, he played on the PGA Tour from 1960 to 1970, finishing fifth in the Greater New Orleans Invitational and seventh at both the Masters and the U.S. Open. Following his professional playing career, Pittman served as the club pro at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, from 1973 to 2000 before retiring.

“I would not have been able to attend SMU without the golf scholarship I received,” said Pittman. “I am pleased to be able to help future students enjoy an experience similar to the one I enjoyed.”

Chris Parra, the team’s head coach since April 2020, has been named the inaugural Jerry Pittman Head Men’s Golf Coach. In his first two years, he has led the Mustangs to their two best finishes (No. 12 in 2019–20, No. 18 in 2020–21) in Golfstat’s rankings. In that same period, the Mustangs have won three of 13 tournaments and produced five individual tournament champions.

“I could not be more proud to call Jerry Pittman a friend,” said Gerry York, curator of SMU’s Heritage Hall and member of the SMU Lettermen’s Association Board of Directors. “Jerry and I were both members of the Class of 1958, and I know our classmates will be thrilled when they learn of his gift. He was such a wonderful golfer for the Mustangs, and his gift will provide stability for the SMU men’s golf program for years to come.”