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Enshrined: 2011-2012 Wilmington Golf Team Officially Inducted into CACC Hall of Fame

Copyright 2021; Wilmington University. Photo by Trudy Spence. 2021-12 WU Golf Team inducted into CACC HOF.
Copyright 2021; Wilmington University. Photo by Trudy Spence. 2021-12 WU Golf Team inducted into CACC HOF.

NEWARK, Del. - - It's been nearly 10 years since the 2011-12 Wilmington University golf team was all together and played a collegiate match, but they were relevant again on Saturday as head coach Harry Jennings and that Wildcats team were officially enshrined in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame.

Unbeknownst to them, the core group of Wildcats on the 2011-12 squad spring-boarded the golf program into a regional powerhouse and nationally known. The Wildcats won their second consecutive CACC Tournament in 2012, the beginning of a run of eight straight CACC Tournaments and now 10 out of the last 12 overall.

The 2011-12 team became the first Wilmington program to win an NCAA Regional Tournament, capturing the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional Tournament by six strokes to advance to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. Throughout the season, they also captured the Northeast Intercollegiate Golf Tournament and went down to Florida and won the famed Jay Jennison Memorial Tournament by nine strokes over teams from the South Region.

Individually, the Wildcats' start studded lineup was led by Dan Ott who was named the CACC Player of the Year, and was one of four Wildcats to earn all-conference accolades. PJ Tighe earned medalist honors at the CACC Tournament and the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional Tournament, all while being named All-CACC as well. Andrew Baldo and Scott Davidson were also named All-CACC for the Wildcats. Head Coach Harry Jennings was named the CACC Coach of the Year.

On Saturday, Harry Jennings was accompanied by assistant Coach Mark Hall, and captains PJ Tighe and Dan Ott to accept the award from the CACC Commissioner Dan Mara.

"I didn't know Wilmington didn't have anyone in the CACC HOF until today," said PJ Tighe. "That's pretty cool. We were just having fun when it was happening. We were just playing golf, traveling around, making friends, and just enjoying ourselves. The end result was good enough, apparently. It was a lot of fun and the hard work paid off."

"I first thanked him (Dan Mara) and told him it's an honor, but then I asked if he was kidding," Harry Jennings said when asked what his initial reaction to the news was.

Jennings continued, "I've had some great teams, but with this team we all gelled together as a family. Winning was easy. We had practices where everyone was competing against each other, they wanted to win at practice let alone in competitions.

"The foundation was built when we brought in PJ and Dan," Jennings said about the dynasty that Wilmington golf has turned into. "They had the proper attitude and demeanor. Their work ethic was unbelievable. And they knew how to win. If you needed a putt, they weren't scared to take the challenge and most of the time they accomplished it."

"Ever since day one it's been about having fun, a lot of jokes, so at first I didn't believe him (Harry Jennings)," said Dan Ott when asked what his initial reaction to the news was. "It took him a good minute to convince me that it was true, that it was real. But once I figured it out, it was exciting."

When asked if he ever thought the game of golf would get him into a Hall of Fame, Ott said, "I've been playing golf with PJ since I was eight. Both of us probably never thought that golf would take us to all the destinations, the scenery we saw, and all the beautiful courses we got to play."

Ott finished by explaining his role in the Wildcats winning 10 of the last 12 CACC Tournaments, "How it went from not a lot of people wanting to come to Wilmington to being able to pick and choose who you want to come to Wilmington (to play golf). At that point we realized we made a little bit of a difference but you would have never thought that it would have continued for so long and people would still want to come to Wilmington with the talent that they have."