Labron Harris was a foundational figure in collegiate golf coaching. He started the Oklahoma State program from scratch in 1947 and led the team to its first national championship in 1963. He coached the Cowboys to 24 conference champions, had 27 All-Americans and two national champions in Earl Moeller in 1953 and Grier Jones in 1968.
Coaching was just part of the Harris legacy, however. He designed and built Lakeside Golf Course in Stillwater, designed nine holes at Cushing Country Club and helped other courses in the area. He was a long-time member and strong supporter of the PGA of America.
Harris was born in Dardanelle, Arkansas, and moved to Wewoka, Oklahoma, at age 8. He graduated from Wewoka High School in 1927, having lettered in basketball, baseball, track, tennis, and football. Harris then attended Southwestern State College in Weatherford, wrestling in the first match he ever saw. He also competed in golf, winning the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference individual title, and graduated in 1935. Beginning in 1936, Harris won three consecutive Oklahoma Sand Greens Championships.
Harris became Guthrie Country Club’s head professional in 1936 and stayed there until Henry P. Iba hired him as Oklahoma State’s golf coach in 1947.
A fine player with an incredible work ethic, Harris won the 1953 Oklahoma Open in Enid and tied for 27th at the 1958 U.S. Open. He won 152 tournaments as a player.
Harris retired to Sun City, Arizona, and died on August 14, 1995. He was honored with induction into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The Harris Award is presented annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game of golf and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.