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Former TSU golf coach Catana Starks to be portrayed in upcoming movie
Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Nashville --- Former TSU golf coach Catana Starks' story will be featured in the sports film ‘From The Rough' starring Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson.

The film is inspired by the life of Dr. Catana Starks, the first female head coach of an NCAA Division I men's golf team at Tennessee State University.

According to , Henson will play a fictionalized version of Starks named Cassandra Turner, who parlays a successful stint as coach of the women's swim team at a historically black college into a shot at building the men's golf team. With available black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talents and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team.

When Tennessee State University joined the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference in 1986, then-Athletic Director Bill Thomas traded the University's swimming program for a men's golf team and called on the leadership of Dr. Catana Starks to guide the program. Starks then made history, becoming the only African-American female to have coached a men's golf team in the country.

Starks, who is now the head of TSU's Human Performance and Sports Sciences department, guided the team to a Division I record win for the National Minority Championship. Under her guidance, the team also produced the first African American men's head coach for Michigan State University (Sam Puryear), a top swing coach of professional golfers in Canada (Sean Foley) and an All-American who is a member of the European Tour (Robert Dinwiddie).

"I was really pleased and I thought it was a great idea," commented Dr. Catana Starks. "I am a shy person, I don't even like taking pictures but I think it's good to have a female being honored in this way."

According to Starks, the production of this film has been in the making for five years.

"Hopefully this will draw more African-American females into coaching on the collegiate level and coaching the opposite sex," she continued. "Men have been doing it for many years and I think there are a lot of great women out there who probably could do a much better job than I have done. I hope this film inspires other women to try their hand at coaching."