As far as GW administrators go, Associate Vice President Mike Gargano is popular among students for his high visibility on campus. Two weeks ago he earned more praise after a top finish at a nationally-recognized golf tournament.
A team consisting of Gargano, a former member of the GW golf team, other amateurs and one PGA professional finished in fourth place at the Kemper Open Pro-Am after a strong showing at the 36-hole tournament that began May 31.
The two-day tournament at Congressional Country Club and Tournament Players Club at Avenel (Potomac, Md.) ended as Gargano’s five-member team just missed a chance to win Waterford crystal after his team was edged in matching cards, a process to determine final rankings if teams are tied.
The annual tournament gives 208 amateur players the chance to team up with 52 professionals. The first day includes a team event that uses an overall team score. A team’s best showing on each hole is used on the second day.
Paired with PGA professional Dudley Hart, Gargano joined alumnus Bill Collins, a member of the GW Athletic Hall of Fame and two others in the tournament. Metrocall, a company chaired by Collins, sponsored the team.
Gargano said the team scored about the same on both days.
Gargano, who has played golf since he was ten years old, first developed an affinity for the game after he stole his oldest brother’s golf clubs.
From that day on his brother stopped playing, but Gargano continued.
The first time I got on a golf course, I shot an 85 for 12 holes, Gargano said. I had to quit because I ran out of golf balls.
Gargano continued playing golf at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, N.C.
After playing at the University of Hartford, Gargano began his professional career as head coach. During his tenure at Hartford, he led both the men’s and women’s teams.
After President Trachtenberg moved from the University of Hartford to GW, Gargano became the assistant athletic director at GW in 1988.
Gargano still participates in about eight tournaments a year, maintaining a handicap of two.
Playing golf, however, is not Gargano’s only passion.
In addition to serving as the executive director of the Student Activities Center, Gargano also maintains a large collection of golf balls with different logos. A ball signed by the president of the Philippines is the most recent addition to his collection.
For Gargano, the summer golf season is just heating up. He will participate in several amateur tournaments in the next few months, including the qualifying round for the Virginia Amateur Tournament June 16.