Entering his 29th season at the helm of the
Year-in and year-out, the hall of fame coach has his charges in the national rankings, near the top of the leader board and in the hunt for the national championship. LaRose has guided
Faced with another youthful lineup in 2005-06, LaRose turned the group into a highly competitive unit that claimed two team championships, including a record-setting effort in winning the NCAA West Regional, one individual medalist and five top-five finishes. Over the last four seasons,
All told, three Wildcats garnered all-conference accolades in 2005-06, while one player also earned All-America distinction.
His coaching efforts may not have shone brighter than in 2003-04. Rebuilding a lineup that lost four of its top five players to graduation, LaRose molded a group made of one senior, one junior and four freshmen into one of the finest teams on the collegiate tour. After struggling a bit in the fall, the group turned it on in the spring and rolled to four tournament wins in nine events. Included in the effort was the program’s first Pac-10 championship in 13 seasons and top-three finishes at both the NCAA West Regional and NCAA Championships.
LaRose and his charges were rewarded for their efforts in 2003-04, as
Four Wildcats earned a total of five All-America honors in 2004. It marked the 13th consecutive season in which UA has had at least one All-American, including multiple honorees in nine of those campaigns. Additionally, Chris Nallen was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award.
Two of his charges, Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen earned All-America accolades for the third year in a row and established themselves as one of the finest duos in amateur golf. Barnes won the 2002 United States Amateur championship and was named co-winner of the 2003 Ben Hogan Award and Pac-10 Player of the Year, while Nallen captured the 2003 Northeast Amateur championship and participated in both the Palmer and Walker Cups. Additionally, former UA All-American Jim Furyk won the 2003 United States Open Championships at Olympia Fields Country Club in June.
As a testament to his outstanding golf legacy, LaRose was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America’s Hall of Fame on Jan. 22, 2003.
LaRose led the Wildcats to another top-10 finish at the 2002 NCAA Championships, his ninth since 1988. Through the course of the season,
LaRose piloted his team to a pair of team titles in 2000-01, including the 2000 College Golf Foundation Match Play national championship, and three individual medalist honors. Once again, LaRose's teams played its best golf late in the season. With a starting five that included a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen, the Wildcats posted four consecutive top-three finishes to close the 2001 campaign and earned a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Along the way, LaRose’s charges earned a golf bag-full of honors as distinctions, including two All-Americans, a freshman All-American, the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and four all-conference honorees.
Finishing third just two strokes behind the leaders at the NCAA Championships, the 1999-2000 UA men’s golf season was one that went down as one of the most rewarding in the program’s history. From beginning the year not ranked in the top 25 to its third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the Cats continued to improve each week and posted two wins on the year, including the NCAA West Regional, and finished second four times.
Now in his 34th season as a Wildcat head coach, LaRose began coaching at the UA in 1973 as the head coach of the water polo team and swimming coach. He has coached four different teams at the
Prior to taking over the golf program in 1978, he guided the UA water polo team to four NCAA regional championships and three fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. His teams were never ranked out of the top six nationally and had five All-American performers and one United States Olympian. His record as water polo coach was 154-37-2 (.803). As the Wildcat swimming coach, he helped guide six U.S. Olympian swimmers, 20 All-Americans and one national champion.
His golf teams have been ranked in the top 20 in 25 of those 28 seasons, including a string of eight consecutive years that the Cats were ranked in the top three nationally. Further, the team has been the nation’s No. 1 team 13 different times, most recently during the 1997-98 campaign, when it was ranked No. 1 for the majority of the season.
With the double-duty as the head coach for both the
LaRose’s teams have won two NCAA titles, seven NCAA regional championships, four Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. In addition to being the only coach in college golf to coach both a men’s and women’s NCAA championship team, he is also the only one to produce both a men’s and women’s Rolex Match Play and Pac-10 championship team. His finishes at the NCAAs not only include the 1992 men’s and 1996 women’s titles, but six third-place, a fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts.
Since 1978, LaRose’s golf teams have won 58 men’s tournaments and 17 women’s tourneys. He has also produced seven national players of the year, 11 Pac-10 Players of the Year, 66 All-Americans and 99 all-Pac-10 Conference performers. On the national front, he has had a hand in coaching two United States Amateur winners (and three runner-ups), five United States Walker Cup players, a pair of Ryder Cup golfers, a U.S. President’s Cup performer and three United States Publinx champions. Seventeen of his pupils have also represented the
His guidance has left a mark on the
His players have also left their mark on the professional tours, with such players as Jim Furyk, Robert Gamez, Mike Springer, Larry Silveira, Manny Zerman, David Berganio, Ted Purdy and most recently Rory Sabbatini carrying on the UA golf tradition in the pro ranks.
His athletes have also excelled in the classroom, as there have been 11 All-American scholars, a Rhodes Scholar, a Walter Beyers NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship winner, seven Top Student-Athlete of the Year selections at the UA, and a graduation rate of over 80%. He has also produced two Honda Award winners, as Baena won the 1996 and 1997 awards, which signified the Athlete of the Year in women’s golf.
In addition to his student-athletes, LaRose has earned his share of national recognition. The 1992 Golfweek Men’s NCAA Coach of the Year, he received the same honor for the women in 1996 following its NCAA title. He has also been the NCAA District VIII Men’s Golf Coach of the Year twice and the Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year five times (four men/one women). He won the 1977 Coach of the Year award for water polo and was a four-time NCAA District VII Water Polo Coach of the Year.
LaRose, a native of
After his time at
He later played professional fastpitch softball for the Tucson Rattlers of the American Professional League, which won the World Championship in 1976. He has played in three ISC World Championships and was selected an ASA and ISC All-State player.
An acclaimed golfer as well, he has qualified for and played in the United State Amateur Championship and the United States Mid-Amateur Championship. A member of the Arizona Golf Association’s Goldwater Cup team, he won the 1996, ?'97 and ?'98 Dogwood Invitational Senior Amateur titles as well as the 1998 Porter Cup Senior Amateur championship.
A member of the Arizona Golf Association’s Board of Directors, he also serves on numerous advisory boards and golf associations throughout the country. For all his work with the UA and in the