July 26, 2012 — Lafayette, LA – Debbie and the late Jim Rivers have been named as recipients of the Louisiana Golf Association’s Distinguished Service Award for 2012. The award was initiated in 1984 by the LGA to honor individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the game in Louisiana.
Debbie and Jim Rivers’ lives revolved around the game of golf.
Growing up in Monroe Debbie began playing the game in 1964. She loved to compete, qualifying and participating in the USGA Girls’ Junior Championship in Dallas in 1969. During her competitive career, she qualified for the USGA Women’s Amateur and Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships, and played in the LPGA Birmingham Classic as an amateur. She won two Louisiana Women’s Golf Association (LWGA) Amateur Championships and was crowned women’s club champion at Bayou DeSiard Country Club 11 consecutive years.
Once her national and state-wide competitive career wound down, she began to contribute in other ways, serving on USGA Committees and chairing the LWGA Junior Girls’ Championship on three occasions.
In 1991 she became of member of the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Teaching Division and co-founded the Honors Junior Golf Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission was to introduce and promote the game to young people in the north Louisiana area. Debbie continues to share her wisdom and expertise in the game with many in the north Louisiana area in a number of ways. She has served as Director of the senior tournament named in Jim’s honor from 2003-2012, and established the James H. Rivers Endowment for Golf at ULM in 2003 and the James H. Rivers Endowment for Golf at Louisiana Tech in 2008.
Jim Rivers’ leadership in the game also began early on. He began to play at the age of 15, showing his abilities by captaining the golf team at Neville High School and Louisiana Tech University, leading the Tech team to four consecutive conference championships. While serving in the Air Force, he helped with the re-construction of the golf course at Mather Air Force Base in California, and later chaired the committee in charge of the renovation of Bayou DeSiard Country Club in Monroe. When James Davison made the decision to build Squire Creek Country Club in the Ruston/Choudrant area, Jim was more than willing to offer his expertise in helping plan the Squire Creek course and facility.
Jim continued to be competitive well into his Senior years, capturing the Bayou DeSiard Country Club Senior Championship 10 times, in addition to qualifying for the USGA Senior Amateur Championship five times, winning the Louisiana Golf Association (LGA) Senior Amateur Championship twice, and capturing the Senior Cotton States title as well.
Sadly, Jim passed away in 2003 leaving Debbie to carry the torch of promoting the game they both loved so dearly. Soon after his death the Board of Directors of Bayou DeSiard Country Club renamed their event the Jim Rivers Senior Cotton States Championship in his honor.
It is particularly fitting that Debbie and Jim will be honored with this award as the LGA conducts its 21st annual Mid-Amateur Championship at Squire Creek Country Club, where Debbie continues to teach the game. The presentation will take place at the Pre-Championship Banquet at Squire Creek on the eve of the Louisiana Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship, Thursday night, August 2, 2012.
List of previous recipients:
|2011 Jimmy Headrick||1996 Luca Barbato|
|2009 Stuart P. Braud||1995 Bob DeMoss|
|2008 J. Michael Veron||1994 John Fister|
|2007 Joseph Bartholomew||1993 Walter Fowler|
|2006 Ronnie Melancon||1993 Jim McGonagill|
|2005 Mary Capouch||1992 Emile Zachariah|
|2004 Lionel Hebert||1991 Albert Hand|
|2003 Jim Pierson||1990 Tommy Wulff|
|2003 Jay Pierson||1989 Frank Leach|
|2002 Charles Dugas||1988 Freddie Haas, Jr.|
|2001 John Pruitt||1987 Bill Bass|
|2000 Frank Mackel||1986 Henry Thomas|
|1999 Frank Gumpert||1985 Mike Barbato|
|1998 Johnny Myers||1984 W.E. “Winnie” Cole|
|1997 Oree Maralis|