GREENVILLE - Clemson golf coach Larry Penley got what he expected Thursday night at the Tiger Golf Gathering, held at Thornblade Club: the return of 19 former Tigers, now on various professional tours, plus awards for this past season's players.
And something he did not expect.
School officials and organizers of the annual reunion announced a golf team building will be named the Larry B. Penley Jr. Golf Facility in honor of the coach, in his 27th year at Clemson.
"I had no idea," Penley said. They did a good job keeping it from me. I usually know about everything going on around here."
Penley was inducted into the S.C. Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday.
"It's been a pretty good two weeks, but it's special tonight because this is from all the players here."
Plans are for the two-story facility to be built adjacent to the practice area at a cost of $1.5 million to $2 million. Former Tiger Lucas Glover, who made the announcement, said ground is expected to be broken in May.
"I just think it's perfect," said former Tigers player and former Columbia resident Jonathan Byrd, a three-time PGA Tour winner. "This (facility) is the product of all of Larry's hard work and everyone's involvement.
"Our main motivation is we're doing this for Larry. We all had a great experience at Clemson, and Larry's the biggest part of that. He's the one who led us and we want to help the guys who come after us, help Larry recruit."
Penley-coached teams have finished in the top 10 nationally 12 times and won the 2003 NCAA Championship. He has produced 24 All-Americans and 11 PGA Tour members.
"What better way to honor him?" Byrd said.
The facility announcement marked a highlight in a year filled with accomplishments for Penley's current and former players.
Among those on hand Thursday were Lucas Glover, winner of the 2009 U.S. Open, and Charles Warren, one of the Golf Gathering's founders, who was inducted into Clemson's Ring of Honor in October.
Also recognized were 2009 players Ben Martin, who reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur, and Kyle Stanley, winner of the Ben Hogan Award. Stanley was playing in Australia and could not attend.