Legislators lobby for national champion Jaguars

ASU golf head coach Josh Gregory, left, celebrates with J. Fleming Norvell after the team arrives in Augusta to a cheering crowd after winning the NCAA Golf Championship June 6. The ASU golf house is named after Norvell.

 

Augusta State University has discovered a way to bring Democrats and Republicans together.

Since the Jaguars' NCAA Division I golf championship, U.S. Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., and Paul Broun, R-Ga., have joined forces to have a resolution congratulating the team presented on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Debbee Keller, a spokeswoman for Broun's office, confirmed Tuesday that the two are working together on the resolution, noting that a time frame hasn't been set. It first must receive 25 co-sponsors from a committee.

Meanwhile, Barrow's office is continuing its efforts to get President Obama to honor the team at the White House. Barrow spokeswoman Jane Brodsky said the legislator's office made its initial request a week ago, followed up on it Tuesday and hasn't heard back yet.

"We will continue to follow up," Brodsky said, adding that a White House visit is only fitting as the championship is "a huge accomplishment."

Also, Joan Kirchner, the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said she put in an inquiry Tuesday to the White House.

Phone and e-mail messages left for the White House hadn't been immediately returned by Tuesday.

NCAA Division I champions routinely are honored by the president in Washington. Earlier this year, Obama welcomed Alabama's football team, Duke's men's basketball team and Connecticut's women's basketball team.

An NCAA spokesman said an invitation to the White House must be issued by the president, noting that the athletic association has no involvement in the process.

The thought of getting a White House nod has the Jaguars excited.

"To get an opportunity to meet the president and visit the White House would be pretty incredible," golf coach Josh Gregory said. "You never dream of something like that."

"To have the president honor us at the White House, that'd be a dream come true," said sophomore Patrick Reed. "It'd be the icing on the cake."

Augusta State defeated Oklahoma State, 3-1-1, in the championship match to claim the school's first NCAA title.

Broun and Barrow, as well as Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, are looking into statewide signs recognizing the national championship. Georgia Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, said he also is working on ways to honor Augusta State on the state level. He said he hopes to have a plan in place later this week.

Coach to be recognized

Augusta State's Josh Gregory will receive the NCAA Division I golf coach of the year award Dec. 6 during the Hall of Fame banquet at the Golf Coaches Association of America convention.

Gregory, in his eighth season as the Jaguars' coach, led his team past top-ranked Oklahoma State for the national title June 6.

He officially won the Dave Williams Coach of the Year Award, named for the former Houston golf coach.

-- From staff reports

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