Earlham scores hole-in-one with golf gift
June 11, 2020
Men’s and women’s golf at Earlham College, slated to be suspended as part of institution-wide budget austerity measures, have received a welcome reprieve thanks to a major gift from an alumnus and his wife.
Randy and Melissa Sadler, who have owned and operated a par 3 golf course and driving range in Franklin, Ohio, since 1992, said they wanted to set Earlham’s programs on a fresh course of their own for generations of student-athletes. “Golf is a lifetime sport that provides hours of relaxation and exercise for individuals of all ability levels,” noted Randy, a 1973 graduate and former member of the Board of Trustees now serving as vice president of the Earlham Foundation board. “Melissa and I could not bear to think of Earlham without a golf program. We are happy we could help keep the program going and support a plan for long-term success.”
President Anne Houtman called the Sadler gift welcome, touching and totally in character. The Sadler family is one of Earlham’s most ardent and generous advocates, especially in athletics. In 2012, the family made a major gift to the College in support of a new baseball facility on south campus. Randal R. Sadler Stadium was built during the summer of 2013 and hosted the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament in 2017. Randy was a celebrated pitcher on two of the Quakers’ best baseball teams, becoming one the College’s leaders for earned run average.
“We are grateful for the Sadler family’s continued generosity and support of Quaker athletics at a time when institutions of higher education are making difficult decisions about what it can support without compromising the student experience,” Houtman said.
Julie Kline, associate vice president and senior director of athletics, noted, “This gift also enables us to restructure our coaching model for men’s and women’s golf, which demonstrates our strong commitment to both programs and ensures a highly competitive experience for all of our student-athletes. Head Coach Matt Gehring will move into a new position as director of men's and women's golf while continuing to lead the men’s golf team, and we will be creating a new position for a head women's golf coach."
Those adjustments and the infusion of operating funds will position the golf programs for growth and long-term vitality, Kline said.
“Many people know our family for its support of baseball, but may not know that our family also owns the golf course in the Cincinnati area,” Randy Sadler noted. “Golf has truly been a lifetime passion for our family and we are thrilled to offer this support at a time when the College needs it most.”
Since beginning competition in 2016-17, the Earlham men’s and women’s golf programs quickly moved to become among Earlham’s more competitive programs in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Women’s golf finished fourth in the HCAC Championship in 2018-19, the program’s third season of competition, producing an all-conference performer in Emma Wilkins and a Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Division III All-American Scholar in Hannah Toresdahl. Both graduated this past May.
Earlham men’s golf placed second at the 2018-19 HCAC Championship, led by two-time All-HCAC honoree Garrett Schuler, who will be a senior this fall, and Graham Sherard, a Srixon/Cleveland Golf Division III All-America Scholar and All-HCAC selection who graduated in May.
Over four seasons, Earlham men’s golf charted three regular-season tournament wins, while women’s golf recorded one.
A math and physics major at Earlham who later earned an MBA from Xavier University, Randy currently serves as the president and chief operating officer of PROWARE, an Ohio-based corporation focused on providing information technology to medium and large courts since 1985.
In addition, the eclectic entrepreneur is a real estate developer, a financial adviser, stockbroker and owner of several small businesses. In 2012, he and his business partner received a patent for a creative, unique water purification system that is now being used by developing countries throughout the world.
Brian Zimmerman, director of media relations