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GOLF DOCTOR

NMSU Hall of Fame Day honors Herb Wimberly, others

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A couple of weeks ago, on April 1, the NMSU Hall of Fame luncheon was held, and several golf recipients stand out here. One is Bobby Lutz, a businessman in Dallas, who came to NMSU in the fall of 1969 to play golf, and played four years for Herb Wimberly. He was the College of Business Distinguished Alumni in 2014.

The 2022 Corporate Traders’ award recipients are two principals of First American Bank: Farrah Marquez, market president, and Joe Bullock, former president of First American who played golf for Herb Wimberly at NMSU in the early 1970s.

Chartered in Artesia in 1903, First American Bank serves New Mexico with 16 full-service locations, three of which are in Las Cruces. First American Bank is partnering with the NMSU College of Business to promote ethics in the classroom.

Joe Bullock is also the author of the acclaimed book “Walking with Herb,” which made its movie debut a year ago.

The Hall of Fame ceremonies were marked by the presentation of the 2022 Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award given to Herb Wimberly. Herb came here in 1962 as the new head coach of the NMSU golf team, where he coached for 31 years. During his tenure, Mr. Wimberly was named Coach of the Year six times by the Missouri Valley Conference and once by the Big West Conference. In May, 2009, NMSU bestowed upon Mr. Wimberly an honorary doctorate degree. He is already in the NMSU Hall of Fame, as well in the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame. Also, In 2011, Mr. Wimberly received the NMSU College of Business Traders Award.

The College of Business used this most recent occasion to announce the Herb Wimberly Golf Management Program, as the local moniker for the NMSU Professional Management Program (PGM) that was started in the College of Business in 1987 through the efforts of Herb and his late brother Guy Wimberly. The NMSU PGM Program is one of 18 official PGA of America PGM Programs around the country.

            Among the standout golfers who played for Herb through the years, and subsequently played on the PGA Tour, were: Larry Beem; his son Rich Beem, winner of the 2002 PGA Championship; and Tom Byrum. Among the players he coached there were 18 who achieved NCAA All-America honors.

            My personal association with Herb goes back to the very first day I moved here to Las Cruces in late summer of 1988, when I was welcomed at the modest golf shop on University Avenue by a warm and smiling head golf pro named Herb Wimberly. “You’re going to like it here,” were his first words, “This is an awesome golf course.” A few months later I would receive the same energetic welcome from Herb’s (late) brother Guy when I visited Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque, where Guy was also head professional. The craft of making new friends feel like old friends runs in the family, I guess.

            When I had started working with the NMSU men’s golf team as their sports psychologist for a few years, in 1999 Herb and I started Performance Golf Schools; he had retired from coaching but not from teaching. We organized weekend golf clinics (for all ages and abilities) throughout New Mexico, El Paso and even Colorado. I can remember those 14 years as being the most wonderful experience I have had in golf. Herb and I were a good team. I was a 2-handicap at the time, and Herb once looked at me and said, “I’d like you to teach golf with me.”

Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at docblanchard71@gmail.com.

Charlie Blanchard