Pacelli grad Conrad Ray headed to GCA Hall of Fame
Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Austin native and Pacelli grad Conrad Ray has found his home away from home at Stanford University and now he’s reached a major milestone as he enters his 13th season as head golf coach for the Cardinal.
Ray, who has led Stanford to 11 appearances in the NCAA championships and the school’s eighth national title in 2007, will be inducted into the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in Las Vegas on Dec. 11.
“It’s a very big surprise and it’s a huge honor. I respect the Hall of Fame and the guys that are in it,” Ray said. “They’ve really changed the game of college golf and they’ve made a huge impact. It’s a big honor. I’ve put in a lot of time and dedication and I’ve been lucky enough to get some really good golfers here. It’s a representation of everything we do at Stanford.”
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Ray has helped produce 23 All-Americans, four Pac-12 Players of the Year, three Pac-12 Scholar Athletes of the Year, three Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and 18 All-Pac-12 first team selections at Stanford. Ray has enjoyed the winning his team has done and he also likes the atmosphere at Stanford where academics are valued as well as athletics.
When Ray was competing as a golfer under head coach Wally Goodwin he learned about the importance of being a balanced athlete and that has stuck with Ray ever since.
“It really is true that you can be an awesome student and an athlete student at the same time. It’s not mutually exclusive. That’s something that we celebrate every day,” Ray said. “Stanford amazes me every day and they do an awesome job of combining high level athletics and high level academics. That’s inspiring. No doubt about it, I’m drinking the Stanford Kool-Aid.”
Ray said that he hopes to coach for at least another 13 years, but going into the Hall of Fame gives him a chance to look back on what he’s done so far as a coach.
“It’s given me some time to really reflect on how quickly 13 seasons have gone by,” Ray said. “It seems like just yesterday I was getting going and learning how to do things. Even though we’re in a sport about wins and losses, that’s not what I remember. It’s more about the relationships with players and the amazing group of friends and mentors I’ve had.”
Ray was a three-year letter winner for the Cardinal golf team and he was a member of the 1994 championship squad with Tiger Woods, Casey Martin and Notah Begay. In his senior season in 1997, Ray posted six top-ten finishes and had the second best stroke average on the team.
Ray played his high school golf for the Shamrocks and he credited his coach Tim Duren, and golf pro Mike Hasley for helping him out as a golfer. He also has fond memories of playing dual meets in Pacelli with his teammates Jake Nelsen and Marty Wolesky.
“Some of my great memories were those nine hole matches in Blooming Prairie and Kasson,” Ray said. “We had a lot of fun and we were doing the right thing and trying to win. Tim Duren was a world class coach.”
Ray is married to Jennifer and the couple have three daughters — Ella, Emerson and Jillian. Ray is trying to instill the values that he picked up in Austin to his own family.
“My parents have always been massively supportive,” Ray said. “The odds were stacked against a kid from Southern Minnesota to go on and play golf at Stanford, but they were supportive of it. I’ve learned that with my own daughters that it’s important to be supportive.”