The Ferris State University Women's Golf Bulldog Invitational will feature a new name from this time henceforth as the annual athletic event will be designated as the Ferris State Tom Kirinovic Classic in honor of former FSU Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic.
This 2010-11 season-opening tournament for the Bulldog women's golf team will be held next weekend, Sept. 5-6, at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich.
Kirinovic, who retired from Ferris State on June 30, 2010, served as a member of the Bulldog Athletics Department staff for more than 27 years and had been the University's Athletics Director since November 29, 1999. He was selected as the 2009-10 recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's "Pete Peterson Pride Award" for demonstrating loyalty and unselfish support of Bulldog Athletics.
"Tom Kirinovic has been the face of Ferris State Athletics for almost three decades so it makes perfect sense for our women's golf team to honor him this Labor Day weekend during our home invitational," said FSU Men's and Women's Golf Head Coach Mike Mignano. "The home invitational is the first tournament for many of the teams in our region and there will be no better way to start our season than by having Tom around and honoring his service to Ferris State University."
The idea for naming the tournament actually came from one of the Ferris State golf student-athletes and Mignano immediately gave his full approval of the suggestion. Kirinovic was a huge supporter of both the women's and men's golf programs during his tenure as athletics director and played an integral role in helping FSU get to the national championship tournament on both of the men's and women's sides. Furthermore, Kirinovic's leadership helped the women's program to two national runner-up finishes (2004 and 2006) while the men's program has enjoyed its two best seasons in school history the last two years (2009 and 2010).
Kirinovic, who has gained recognition for his skills in areas of
athletics management, public relations, marketing, and fundraising,
was appointed interim athletics director in mid-July 1999 before
becoming a unanimous choice for the position.
In his 11-year tenure as athletics director, Kirinovic has been responsible for overseeing the Bulldogs' 15-sport intercollegiate athletics program. Under his leadership, more than 800 student-athletes have received academic all-conference honors and more than 375 student-athletes have been tabbed as all-conference performers. The Bulldogs have also won 13 conference championships and more than 85 student-athletes have attained All-America recognition.
Additionally, in the Kirinovic era, FSU has completed or renovated athletic facilities for basketball, football, softball, track, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis and golf under his watch along with developing the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame. Ferris has placed four times among the nation’s top 35 programs in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Division II All-Sports Standings over the past six years, including the school’s highest finish ever at 21st in 2004-05. In the last three years, two different FSU student-athletes have also been chosen as the nation’s top overall student-athlete in any sport at the Division II level with both coming from the Bulldog football program.
In his time as athletics director at Ferris State, 14 of the Bulldogs' 15 teams have qualified for NCAA National Tournament competition and five have posted their highest-ever national finishes at the Division II level. Ferris has finished in the upper half of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President’s Trophy All-Sports Standings all 11 years under Kirinovic, including two runner-up efforts and six top three showings.
"On a personal level, Tom has been a tremendous mentor to me as a coach and person," said Mignano. "He has helped me make some tough decisions and supported me throughout my transition to head coach and helping us remain competitive on the national stage.
"Tom always did what was best for the student-athletes, and at the end of the day, his passion for watching and helping them succeed was very evident. We hope for a great weekend of golf and look forward to 'Coach' Kirinovic making his return!" added Mignano.
A season ago (Sept. 19), the Ferris State Men's Golf Invitational was named in honor of FSU Professional Golf Management (PGM) Coordinator Matt Pinter for his numerous contributions to the program throughout the years.