2018 WCC HOH Inductee: Ken Earle, Pacific
WCC Columnist John Crumpacker profiles a Tiger on the links
By John Crumpacker, #WCChoops Columnist
PREVIOUS WCC HALL OF HONOR PROFILES: Randy Wolf, Pepperdine | Miles Batty, BYU & Nicole Karr, Portland | Brian Quinn, Loyola Marymount
Leading up to the 2018 West Coast Conference Hall of Honor induction ceremony Saturday, March 3 at the Orleans Casino Resort, WCC Columnist John Crumpacker is profiling each inductee. Today’s profile focuses former Pacific Golf All-American, Ken Earle.
Because his drive was straight and true on that sublime moment two years ago, Ken Earle is still driving the pickup truck he won for his hole-in-one at a charity golf tournament. Once a golfer, always a golfer.
The former Pacific golfer, with three holes-in-one on his resume, is part of the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor Class of 2018, nominated by a school that wasn’t even in the WCC when Earle was teeing it up for the Tigers from 1981-84. No matter.
“I’m very honored, honestly,’’ Earle, 55 said. “I don’t know the whole lineage of PCAA to WCC. I consider it an honor that Pacific would recommend me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in college. I live in San Diego. We watch the Toreros and other teams in the conference.’’
Instead of driving the Ford F-150 Super Cab (“Nice truck’’) he won at an American Cancer Society fundraiser on the 170-yard second hole at the La Jolla Country Club in 2015, Earle and his wife Lucy, also a Pacific alum, will fly from San Diego to Las Vegas for the Hall of Honor ceremony at the Orleans on March 3.
Two days earlier, they will attend an Elton John concert at Caesars Palace to make the trip to Las Vegas even more memorable.
“That was my bribe to get her to come,’’ Earle said before adjusting that statement to, “It was an extra incentive, how about that?’’
Given that Earle earned his degree, had a successful career on the links and met his wife-to-be at Pacific, his memories of attending school in Stockton are of the warm and fuzzy variety.
“It was a fantastic experience for me,’’ he said. “I enjoyed the intimacy of the school and the opportunity to play on the highest level of Division I. The program was very well run by Dr. Glen Albaugh (Earle’s former head coach). It was excellent. We played in many major tournaments against the larger schools and did quite well.’’
Earle credits Albaugh, who remains involved with the golf program at Pacific, for the success he had wearing the orange and black. He left school as the most decorated golfer in Pacific history, winning team MVP honors in 1983 and ’84 to go along with NCAA Academic All-America distinction in the same years. Earle was an individual medalist in seven tournaments from ’82-84 and finished 20th at the ’83 NCAA men’s championship and 24th in ’84.
Of Dr. Albaugh, he said, “He has a PhD in psychology. He’s written a lot of books. He was applying a lot of his concepts when I was in school. He wrote ‘Winning the Battle Within.’ He made it applicable to golf. He was very good friends with Bill Walsh (the late 49ers coach and executive), quoted him many times in the book.’’
As he noted earlier, Earle lives in San Diego with his wife, where they raised two daughters and a son. Their daughters, Andrea, 26, and Sydney, 23, are recent UC Berkeley graduates while son Scott, 19, is a freshman at San Diego State. Earle said he did not know if any or all his kids will be able to attend the Hall of Honor ceremony with mom and dad.
Earle did not turn pro after Pacific, but he still plays regularly at the club he belongs to, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Sante Fe, with a tiny handicap of 1.2. Little wonder he’s been able to drain three holes-in-one in his life.
Post-Pacific, Earle competed in the San Diego City Amateur, finishing as runner-up in 1986 and ’88. In 1997 he won the San Diego Match Play Championship. But perhaps his greatest honor was teaming up with his father, Tony Earle, to win the International Father/Son Championship on four occasions – 1990, ’97, 2003 and ’11.
The upcoming honoree was pleased to report that his oldest daughter, Andrea, has taken up golf. Son Scott played golf in high school and junior college.
“I still play golf quite a bit,’’ Earle said. “I play at least once a week, depending on work travel.’’
Professionally, Earle works as a manufacturers’ sales rep for the company his father founded in 1969, Earle Associates, based in San Diego. The company represents manufacturers in the tech industry dealing with semiconductors, computers and electromechanical devices. Earle’s work often has him traveling over a broad swath of the Southwest.
Part of that territory includes Las Vegas, where an honor awaits him for his accomplishments during a transformative period in his life.
John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards. Crumpacker has been covering #WCChoops since the 2014-15 season.