Last week Prep Rally highlighted Kansas City defensive back Eric Berry and how the Chiefs rookie donated as much as $10,000 in gear to his alma mater. He's not alone among pro athletes, either. Yet stars who donate earnings back to their roots have usually advanced beyond their sport's minor leagues. That's not the case with Carling Coffing, a 24-year-old professional golfer who donated $2,000 from a meager $10,000 in gifts from winning a Golf Channel reality show to her alma mater.
Coffing, a 2004 graduate of Middletown (Ohio) High School, announced in a speech to the Middletown City school board that she would donate one fifth of her total Dick's Sporting Goods gift certificate prize to the Middletown High athletic department, according to the Middletown Journal. Coffing was named champion of the Golf Channel's "Big Break Sandals Resorts" competition when she edged past Lili Alvarez on the show's final episode.
The reality-show victory earned Coffing a handful of different awards, none more important than a spot at an event on the forthcoming year's LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour. Among her other winnings was the $10,000 Dick's certificate, which she used to fulfill a personal goal of giving back to Middletown High.
"I've been a professional golfer the last two years and I've been trying to find a way to help Middletown," Coffing told the Middletown City school board. "After winning, it came to me that this was a great opportunity."
While Coffing will have a spot in both an LPGA and European Tour event next year, that hasn't been the case for the Ohio State grad to this point. She spent the past two years on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, where earnings are significantly lower and players often have to scrape by to make it from event to event.
Despite those ongoing financial constraints, Middletown figures who knew Coffing were hardly surprised with her gracious donation.
"What you saw tonight is the way she was when she was in high school," Middletown High School Principal Dennis Newell told the Middletown Journal. "She's a great ambassador not only for the high school [but] for the whole community. I wish her nothing but the most success."