2013 GOLF INDUCTEE
Few players on the PGA Tour have ever been as hot or as dominating as the Fresno native was at the 1982 Sammy Davis Jr. – Greater Hartford Open. Norris set the tournament record at 25-under-par 259 for 72 holes. With driver, putter and all of the other clubs in his bag clicking, he became only one of two Tour players to go wire-to-wire without sharing the lead, and eclipsed runners-up Raymond Floyd and Hubert Green by six strokes. That year, he finished third on the tour in driving accuracy and won $65,643.
Norris came to attention while playing at Fresno’s Bullard High School and then dominated the competition in two seasons at Fresno City College. Upon transferring to Fresno State, he earned second-team All-America honors and helped the Bulldogs win the Big West Conference Championship.
In his senior season, Norris was a first-team All-American, shared Big West Athlete of the Year honors with fellow future PGA Tour player Jay Don Blake of Utah State and anchored the Bulldogs’ Big West Conference title-winning team. His superb play and stroke average of 71.89 – a school record – earned Norris accolades as Fresno State’s Athlete of the Year. In his senior season, he also won the individual title at the Sun Bowl Golf Classic.
Norris won four tournaments as a professional: His pro debut at the 1980 California State Open, the 1982 Greater Hartford Open, the 1986 Spalding Invitational at Pebble Beach (highlighted by an opening round 64) and the 1992 Sun Country PGA Championship at Santa Teresa, N.M. He recorded 10 Top 10 tournament finishes on the PGA Tour before an injury to his right hand ended his playing career.
Norris then moved into coaching, first at the University of Texas-El Paso (1990-97) and then rebuilding a Kansas State program that hadn’t finished in the top half of its conference since 1969. Norris, the longest tenured Big 12 Conference coach at the time of his induction, turned the Wildcats into legitimate Big 12 and NCAA Regional contenders.
While at UTEP, his 1990, ’91 and ’95 squads appeared in the NCAA Championships and he had individuals take part in the nationals in 1994 and ’97.