SAN DIMAS/LA VERNE – When San Dimas High School Class of 2008 graduate J.J. Spaun first came to the school as a freshman, he was already raising eyebrows as a junior golfer at the Via Verde Country Club. On his first day of practice as a member of the San Dimas High golf team, he met the man who would help propel him to a career as a professional golfer on the PGA Tour, Saints coach Doug Shultz.
Shultz’s impact on Spaun was profound. From Spaun’s first practice as a freshman until his final putt as a senior, leading the Saints to their fourth consecutive league championship, Shultz was there to guide him. Shultz knew instinctively that Spaun had the talent, skills and character to be a pro, once telling a news reporter, “one of these days, this guy is going to be inside the ropes.”
Accompanied by his wife Melody and young daughter Emerson, and backed by the San Dimas High marching band drumline, Spaun returned to campus on Feb. 22 to dedicate a memorial bench to Shultz, honoring the man who devoted so much time to his players. The bench features a photo of Shultz, who coached the team from 1996 to 2017, and a plaque that says, “He will always be missed, but never forgotten.” Shultz died in 2020.
“It is awesome to be here at his dedication. Doug gave so much of his time to his players,” Spaun said. “He did more than teach golf, he gave us lessons in character. If we won, he would treat us to dinner. He would make sure we were happy and comfortable. He was constantly fund-raising to buy us new bags and new uniforms. I really looked up to him.”
During the dedication ceremony, which was attended by members of the current Saints golf team, Spaun channeled Shultz’s benevolence in announcing that each member of the team would receive a set of customized golf clubs from Srixon Golf and receive a chance to tour the Srixon corporate facility in Huntington Beach.
Spaun said Shultz ‘s generosity inspired him and his teammates to play harder. Spaun’s favorite memory is going to a match at Rowland High School, which used a golf course that was located across the street from a Tommy’s Burger stand. Spaun declared before the match that the Saints were going to win, so that Shultz would treat them to hamburgers after the match.
“It was the little things that helped create a bond between Doug and myself,” Spaun said. “We stayed in touch over the years, all through my college years and into the pros. He was always able to come out and support me and watch me play. He was even at our wedding. We miss him dearly.”
After Spaun graduated from San Dimas High, he went to San Diego State University, where he was a two-time All-Mountain West Conference selection and Conference Player of the Year in 2012. Spaun first played professionally in Canada before joining the PGA Tour in 2017. Spaun has one PGA Tour win, taking the Valero Texas Open in April 2022. One week later, Spaun was in Augusta, Georgia competing in his first Masters Tournament. He finished tied for 23rd place.
Besides coaching golf, Shultz was best known throughout the District for coordinating San Dimas High’s popular BINGO fundraisers, held every Saturday afternoon at Lone Hill Middle School. BINGO funds go towards myriad infrastructure projects at the school, such as replacing the fencing around the batting cage or providing pole vault rain covers and top pads for the track and field team.
“I truly appreciate J.J. taking the time and effort to come back to his school and pay tribute to the man who put him on the path to success,” San Dimas High Principal Scott Sparks said. “Doug Shultz was an inspiration to his students and it’s wonderful to see his legacy honored by a former student who wants to give back. It tells you all you need to know about the character of both Doug and J.J. Our hope is the memorial inspires a new generation of Saints to excel academically and on the field.”
BUSD_SDHS_MEMORIAL: San Dimas High School Class of 2008 graduate and PGA Tour member J.J. Spaun, joined by his daughter Emerson, San Dimas High principal Scott Sparks and the Saints golf team, held a dedication to former San Dimas High golf coach Doug Shultz on Feb. 22. Shultz, who coached the team for 21 years and died in 2020, was known for his devotion to his players, and played a major role in Spaun’s development into a successful college athlete and professional golfer.