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The Ohio High School Athletic Association honored four former Ohio greats during the finals of the 2017 Boys State Basketball Tournament Saturday. One of those recognized during the Division III championship game was East Canton's own Renee Powell.
This is the 11th consecutive year the OHSAA has selected individuals who had prominent roles in the history of Ohio interscholastic athletics to be included in its Circle of Champions program.
Powell graduated from Canton Central Catholic High School in 1964 and attended Ohio University and Ohio State University, serving as captain of the women's golf team at each institution.
She became the second African-American ever to play on the LPGA Tour, joining four years after tennis star Althea Gibson. Renee played on tour from 1967 through 1980, persevering during a time of civil unrest in the country. She competed in 250 professional golf tournaments and won the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Australia.
Just like her late father, Bill Powell, Renee is an ambassador for diversity in the game of golf. She has been touting the sport for four decades, playing, teaching and promoting the game throughout the United States and the world. In recent years, she has been courting women veterans, young people, novices and seasoned golfers alike to play a game that continues to impact her life.
She also serves as the head professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, a course that her father built 70 years ago and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Because of her tremendous advocacy, dedication and life of teaching and giving,
Renee has received numerous honors, including the PGA of America's First Lady of Golf Award; the inaugural Rolex For the Love of the Game Award, and two honorary doctorates.
In 2015, she became one of the first of seven women to be granted membership into the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, ending 260 years of male exclusivity.