June 15, 2015
Tom Hanlon, co-head coach during the first five seasons of women’s varsity golf at the University of Notre Dame and the last surviving member of the 1944 Irish NCAA championship men’s golf squad, died Friday night at his home in South Bend, Indiana. He was 89.
Hanlon first worked with the Notre Dame women’s golf program during its club sport years. He and George Thomas then served as co-head coaches for the Irish from the time the team earned varsity status beginning with the 1988-89 campaign through the 1992-93 season. Hanlon continued for a handful of years as an Irish women’s assistant coach and remained a familiar face around the Notre Dame golf facilities while contributing as an administrative assistant for both the women’s and men’s programs.
Among Hanlon’s pupils was Kathy Phares, who saw a Notre Dame record 66 of her 68 rounds (.971) count to the Irish team score from 1989-93. Phares also set a program record with the team-leading score in 17 events–a mark that lasted until Noriko Nakazaki broke it with 23 in 2003-07.
Under the guidance of head coach Rev. George Holderith, C.S.C., Hanlon played as a freshman for the 1944 Irish golf squad that captured the NCAA title with a 311 team score (good for a one-stroke victory over Minnesota) at Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio. Hanlon also advanced to the NCAA individual quarterfinals that season, falling to eventual champion Louis Lick of Minnesota.
Following that 1944 golf season, Hanlon joined the U.S. Navy and served on a cruiser in the Pacific during World War II. After the war ended, he returned to Notre Dame to earn his degree in pre-medicine in 1949, as well as a master’s degree in education in 1951.
Hanlon coached elementary basketball and track and field at Jefferson Junior High School in South Bend–while also teaching science and math. In 1968 he went into the insurance business with former Irish football coach Ara Parseghian and eventually formed his own firm, Tom Hanlon and Associates, in 1980. He later sold that entity to devote full time to his golf coaching duties at Notre Dame.
Born March 11, 1926, and originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, he and his wife JoAnn (Hertel) married in 1950 and are parents of eight children–Tom, Kevin, Patrick, Tim, Margaret, Jo Ann, Michael and Ruth.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. EDT Friday (June 19) at the Palmer Funeral Home, 17131 Cleveland Road in South Bend. The Rosary will be said at 4 p.m. The funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday (June 20) at Little Flower Catholic Church, 54191 North Ironwood Road in South Bend.