It was the cold, hard cash that first caught John Singer’s attention.

He’d noticed that his younger brother Marcus seemed to be carrying around a lot of money. Marcus had just taken up caddying, and apparently, it was paying off. With the Western Amateur in his hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan, John heard about a call for caddies – and off to training he went.

He took to caddying quickly. He recalls being in awe of it all – the money he was making, the access to new relationships with members, the role models he never imaged having. Soon John found himself at Detroit Golf Club for his selection meeting. He was awarded the Evans Scholarship to Michigan State in 1991.

“Caddying really widened my perspective on life, to see how others think and live,” he says.

After college, John took a few years to figure out next steps. He was working toward a master’s degree when he began mentoring young Black athletes – and found his niche. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State. In 2005, he was recruited to Texas A&M, where he’s the associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Education and Human Development.

He spends his days teaching, studying best practices and working to implement what he learns. He’s still building relationships, just like when he was a caddie.

“The work I do now, it’s all about creating, maintaining and nurturing relationships,” he says. “This line of work is not for the faint of heart. It’s not some play thing. You really have to have a passion for this, knowing it’s imperfect work, but believing it’s still important to do.”

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