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Roncalli Golf Coach Poole wins PGA award

Roncalli Golf Coach Poole wins PGA award

Roncalli High School Boys Golf Coach Jim Poole was awarded the Deacon Palmer Award on Feb. 26 at the Indiana PGA Annual Business Meeting. This award bestows special recognition on a PGA golf professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life. This individual is an unsung hero at their facility and in their community who serves to inspire, empower, and assist others, both inside and outside of the game. This award was first given in 2014 to Arnold Palmer in honor of his father who the award is named after. 

Roncalli Athletic Director David Lauck (Roncalli ’94) said, “There isn’t a tougher, more prepared coach in our athletic department. Coach Poole is beyond deserving of any and all honors and recognitions that come his way.” 

According to the Indiana Golf website, Poole’s journey in the golf industry began at Supreme Golf under Joe Singleton’s guidance. Aspiring to be a golf pro, Poole initially transitioned into an assistant manager role, later turning professional at the Castleton store. Jim took on roles at Orchard Golf Center and Brickyard Crossing, where a chance meeting led him to a position as head golf professional at The Trophy Club. However, life took an unexpected turn with Jim’s diagnoses of psoriatic arthritis and prostate cancer. Amidst his own health struggles, Jim’s wife, Kelly, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Breast Cancer.   

After taking a leave from golf to focus on raising their twins, Poole returned and shifted his focus to teaching. His teaching career focused on junior players, offering free lessons as well as coaching high school golf at Roncalli. Poole’s life theme revolves around gratitude, and he is guided by the core values displayed by a Deacon Palmer Award recipient, including integrity, character, leadership, and love, as reflected in his approach to teaching and battling life’s adversities. 

Senior golfer Nathan Fikes reflected on Coach Poole, “He is truly an inspiration to everyone around him. He has faced a multitude of struggles throughout many years, but this has not stopped him from being a great teacher and mentor to many. He spends every day trying to help others. He has an open-door policy where anyone can come anytime to get a golf lesson or get advice. Even though he struggles with balance and even walking a ton is a struggle for him, he could still go to the golf course and shoot a ridiculously good score. This all shows that he has overcome the obstacles in his life and will let nothing prevent him from what he loves doing – teaching and playing the game of golf. It is safe to say that I would not be the player I am today without his guidance.”

Poole shared, “I am humbled and honored to receive this award. There are many other people just as deserving as me. I see what happens around me. While there are many days where I do not feel my best, I have seen so many people who have lost their lives in the 13 years since I have been diagnosed. I try to take advantage of the opportunities I have been given to this point to try in some small way to validate my existence while so many others were not given these opportunities. I have seen the wonderful side of people. I am so grateful to be here and to have learned what I have learned from being a cancer survivor.” 

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