Distinguished Alumni 2010

Kathy Hite James

Hite-James, KathyKathy Hite-James graduated from Winthrop College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970 and immediately began her professional career at the Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Ga., as Sports Director. She continued to work in the golf industry in Myrtle Beach, S.C., until she turned to professional golf in 1973.

Kathy was raised in Florence as one of six children in an active family. She played many sports as a child, but began her love affair with golf at the age of 10 by participating in a junior golf clinic. She had a natural talent for the game and immediately proved her ability by winning the South Carolina State Amateur Championship in 1966 and 1969. After graduating from Winthrop, her father paid the $15 entry fee for the Southern Women's Amateur and insisted that she play in the tournament. She rewarded her father's faith in her by winning the 1970 Southern Women's Amateur Championship and achieving an amateur ranking of 7th in the United States. In 1973 she failed to qualify for the LPGA in her first attempt at Q-school, but caught the eye of an agent for IMG. The agent arranged for her to play tournaments in Japan and Australia and to begin her professional golf career on the Australian Golf Tour. She returned to the United States in 1974 and obtained her LPGA tour card.

The highlight of her LPGA career was the 1981 tour victory in the Corning Classic in New York. She spent 14 years on the LPGA tour and semi-retired from the tour in 1988. While on the tour, she was under contract with the Ram Golf Company which was owned by Colgate. Through their sponsorship, she toured extensively in the Philippines with 22 other LPGA professionals. She met President Marcos, spent a few days on his yacht, and flew to Corregidor to see General MacArthur's bunker. She has had dinner cooked for her by Dolores Hope, met President Ford, and played in the Nabisco Dinah Shore. After her retirement from the tour, she worked as the Assistant Manager at the Avondale Golf Club for one year before obtaining her California Real Estate license in 1989. She continues to sell real estate in the desert while remaining active in junior golf events. In 1992, she wed John "Buzzy" James from Manhattan Beach, Calif. She and Buzzy live on the Avondale Golf Club course where Kathy is active in animal rescue, co-chairs a dog show each year, and drives for Meals on Wheels.

Kathy Hite-James was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Winthrop University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. It is with great pleasure, that we, the current faculty and staff, welcome Kathy Hite-James home again as a member of the Class of 2011 Distinguished Alumni.