Source: Tennessee State University
The challenges and triumphs of Tennessee State University alumna and faculty member Dr. Catana Starks’ journey as the first female head coach of an NCAA Division I men’s golf team have been captured and will be shared with the world in an upcoming feature film, From the Rough.
The films stars Taraji P. Henson, an Academy Award nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, stars as Starks; Tom Felton, from the Harry Potter series; Michael Clarke Duncan, an Academy Award nominee for The Green Mile; and LeToya Luckett, a platinum recording artist and original member of Grammy-winning Destiny’s Child.
When Starks returned to her alma mater to coach the women’s and men’s swim teams in the early 1980s, she soon found herself charged with building TSU’s new golf program after the university affiliated with the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. With the challenge of organizing the program from scratch — or “from the rough” — Starks assembled an unlikely roster of multi-ethnic players with only one thing in common – golf.
The film’s portrayal of Starks and the team she built provides audiences a glimpse of how the team overcame their differences to nab a NCAA Regional Championship invitation and a Division I-record win for the National Minority Championship.
“I was determined to make a film about her life to prove that women like (Starks) deserved to prove their ability to succeed in a man’s world,” said the film’s producer Michael Critelli, former CEO of Pitney Bowes and five-year chairman of the National Urban League’s board of trustees.
Critelli’s Gyre Entertainment, based in Burbank, Calif., is producing the film and has a mission of
“focusing on an African-American audience that has historically been underserved by Hollywood, and emphasizing positive, uplifting, forward-thinking ideas and stories.”
Additionally, under Starks’ guidance, the team also produced the first African-American men’s head golf coach for Michigan State University, a top swing coach of professional golfers in Canada and an All-American member of the European Tour.
Currently, Starks serves as head of TSU’s human performance and sports sciences department. To view the trailer and find out more about From the Rough, visit the film’s website www.fromtheroughmovie.com.