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Former TSU Golf Coach Life Hits Theaters -- Mikayla Lewis

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Tennessee State University produced the first African-American woman golf coach of a Division I Men's team.  After four years in the making, film makers produced Coach Dr. Catana Starks life story and released it nationwide today.

"From The Rough" is a feature film loosely based on Starks' journey to a championship season. In 1986,  while she coached the school's swim team, TSU traded the sport for a men's golf team, Dr. Starks became the coach.

Dr. Starks said, " I had no clue that anyone cared about what I was doing."

Decades later, Dr. Starks knows many people care. She faced many challenges on the golf course, with limited funding, few athletes available on campus,  and traveling  the world in search of the right golfers to be on her team.

Adrian Adams, from Canada was on the team from 1993-'97.  

Adams said," Interesting for us is that we were a bunch of white foreigners coming to a black college. So there was a little bit of a transition there. None of us ever questioned having a female coach and we defended her many times,  and we were certainly happy to do that."

 

"You have to persevere and in doing so you have to keep self-confidence and keep at it, because it can happen for you," explained Dr. Starks.

Coach Starks never thought Taraji P. Henson would portray her on the big screen, but Dr. Cantana Starks  is proud of the film.

 Dr. Starks said,"  It's a movie that is positive, sends a message and not just completely a golf movie. It does send a message to a lot of young people."

Many young  women look up to Dr. Starks, like Adams' 10-year-old daughter. She is a top golfer, and spends time with Starks often. The former coach lives in Nashville today, and still has kept in contact with many of her former players. She says she is happy to see how successful her former students now, Like Canadian Sean Foley, who is currently Tigers Woods' swing coach.

Adams added, " I am so happy for her that's it's being told and hopefully it inspires a lot of people and I think it will."

Dr. Starks is retired, and says she works out daily and of course is playing golf.

Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17.

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