USI’s Don Bisesi Passes Away At Age 77
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Former University of Southern Indiana Women’s Golf Head Coach Don Bisesi (1938-2015) passed away at age 77 after a long battle with cancer. The funeral service will be held at Alexander West Funeral Home in Evansville, Indiana, Wednesday (December 23) at 7 p.m. with visitation from 2 p.m. until the start of the service. Condolences and memories may be written online at AlexanderWestChapel.com.
“Coach (Don) Bisesi put his heart and soul into our women’s golf program,” said USI Director of Athletics Jon Mark Hall. “Don cared deeply for every student that he coached and he wanted them to achieve all that they could achieve.
“Coach loved to teach the game of golf and was always ready to help anyone that wanted to improve,” continued Hall. “Our women’s golf program garnered national success because of his leadership and the foundation for great things is there now because of him.
“As our men’s basketball coach Rodney Watson said, “Don was one of the good guys.” Our entire department will miss him greatly and our thoughts and prayers are with DeLaine and his entire family,” concluded Hall.
Bisesi, who is slated to be inducted into the USI Athletic Hall of Fame this spring, was the women’s golf head coach between 2000 and 2015, stepping down this fall to an honorary coach position. He led USI to 10 NCAA Division II East Super Regional appearances between 2004 and 2015.
Under Bisesi, the Eagles either qualified as a team or had an individual qualify for the NCAA post-season in 13-straight years.
The two-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year directed the Eagles to a second-place finish at the GLVC Championship as well as a seventh-place showing at the NCAA II East Super Regional last spring. He was named the GLVC Coach of the Year in 2015 as his squad shattered the program’s 54-hole school record with its score of 927 at the GLVC Championship last May.
In the last two years, Bisesi has seen two of his student-athletes win the GLVC individual titles. In 2014,Anastasia Carter became the third player in program history, all under Bisesi’s guidance, to win a GLVC title; while Allison Koester won the GLVC Championship in 2015 with her 54-hole school-record tally of 222.
Bisesi was named the co-GLVC Coach of the Year after directing his squad to its first-ever conference title in 2011. His squad overcame an eight-stroke deficit in the final 18 holes with a season-best round of 301.
A year earlier, his Eagles’ set the program’s record for strokes-per-round average (318.6) as well as its 54-hole team mark (951) at the 2010 NCAA II East Super Regional.
In 2008-09, Bisesi saw his team finish at the NCAA II East Super Regional with what was a team-record 54-hole score of 987. The Eagles also placed third in the GLVC and posted a team 325.8 average.
The Eagles recorded a 327.9 average in 2007-08, on their way to a fourth-place effort at the GLVC Championship and a sixth-place showing at the regional.
In 2006-07, Bisesi and a young Eagles squad set what was a school-record with a 325.1 team average. His Eagles finished fifth at the GLVC Championships.
During the fall of 2005, the Eagles placed second in the GLVC, with four players in the top 20 on the leader board. USI finished the 2005-06 season with its third consecutive NCAA II East Super Regional appearance, finishing fourth.
Although the Eagles had a rough 2005 spring season, they still qualified for the NCAA II Tournament and broke the team record for average for the first time under Bisesi’s tutelage.
In the fall of 2004, Bisesi’s Eagles lost in a playoff to Northern Kentucky University at the GLVC Championship. Despite the loss, Alisha Luigs captured the individual conference title and USI posted its best fall season in the program’s history as it was ranked 10th in the country with a blistering 314.3 strokes-per-round average.
In his fourth season (2003-04) at the helm of the Eagles, Bisesi directed the Eagles to a fourth-place finish in the team’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA II East Regional and a top-20 national ranking. Bisesi’s Eagles also placed second in the GLVC Championship during the fall season.
The previous season, Bisesi guided Amanda Zehner into the NCAA II East Super Regional as an individual, marking the first time in school history that a women’s player had competed on the regional stage.
Bisesi, who took over the women’s program in 2000, was the professional and manager of Helfrich Hills Golf Course before joining USI. Prior to his tenure at Helfrich, Bisesi was the director of golf at Club of Prestwick in Plainfield, Indiana, and the head professional at Plainfield Elks Country Club.
In addition, Bisesi also was an assistant professional at Whittle Spring Golf Course in Knoxville, Tennessee, and at the Highland Golf and Country Club in Indianapolis, Indiana.
On the links, Bisesi played part-time on the PGA Senior Tour in 1988 and 1989, finishing as the Indiana PGA Senior Golf Champion and the Indiana PGA Senior Open runner-up in 1988. He also played in four PGA Senior Tour events and one PGA Senior Championship.
A graduate of the University of Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education, Bisesi was All-Conference each of his four seasons, winning two team conference championships and a pair of individual conference championships. He was inducted into the University of Indianapolis Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Bisesi, a 43-year member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and former Indiana PGA board member, has been a major force in the state of Indiana in promoting junior golf and was co-founder of the Evansville Junior Golf Association. He was named Indiana Junior Golf Promoter of the Year in 1988.
The August 2005 issue of Golf Digest ranked Bisesi seventh among Indiana’s golf instructors.
A native of Martinsville, Indiana, Bisesi earned a master’s degree from Indiana University in guidance and counseling. He and his wife DeLaine resided in Evansville.