Diane Daugherty is known for Saluki Golf. After all, she was head coach of the Southern Illinois University women’s golf team for 25 years, building the program and leading the squad to three Missouri Valley Conference titles and two Gateway Conference championships and earning recognition as the MVC’s All-Centennial women’s golf coach.
A native of Missouri who now lives in Carbondale, she came to SIU in 1986 following a few years on the professional circuit.
“I had some knee problems,” she recalled, “so I started applying for coaching position jobs. I thought I would be here for a couple of years and then I would move on, but I started building the program and falling in love with the area and the people. I’ve been here ever since.”
She continues to be involved with SIU and the golf team.
“I talk with Jerry Kill (SIU Special Assistant to the Chancellor who is overseeing athletics) all of the time and one of my former players is the golf coach,” the 62-year-old explained. “I go to practice all of the time and it’s a big part of my life.”
Diane Daugherty is known for charitable work. When a civic organization or cause catches her interest, Daugherty is a tireless champion, especially when it comes to fundraising.
“Well, I’m probably best known for auctioneering,” she said, adding a caveat. “I’m not a real auctioneer, but I’m free and I’m loud.”
“I grew up in a small town, going to auctions with my dad because that’s just what everybody did. I know a little bit about auctions and I’m not going to be brave enough to call it talent, but I have that ‘whatever’ in me that lets me make people spend money for charity, then I will,” she said.
She’s "auctioneered" at events for the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, Chef Clash at the Arena, the Women’s Center, the Chamber of Commerce and other community groups, raising funds for projects and ensuring attendees a great time.
“By not being a real auctioneer, I can call people out. I once made Congressman Mike Bost pay $500 for a drawing by a little kid,” she explained with a wide grin. “It was an election year, I called him out and he was going to buy it.”
But perhaps Diane Daugherty is best known for her work with St. Francis CARE Animal Shelter. As one of the founders of the not-for-profit no-kill animal shelter located between Carbondale and Murphysboro, she has poured herself into the facility and its clients – both two- and four-legged.
“I’m just as proud of St. Francis as I am of what we were able to do at SIU with women’s golf,” she said. “I often say I went from the Dawgs to the dogs.”
Daugherty, who serves as the president of the St. Francis board of directors, says she’s had at least one dog for as long as she can remember.
“I just can’t stand for animals to be in the situations that we find some of them in,” she added, explaining that the facility recently recorded its 10,00th spay and neutering procedure and boasts that more than 12,000 animals have been adopted from the shelter.
“I don’t want to say we are changing lives, but, I guess in a way, we are,” she said. “It’s amazing what we are able to do and I am very, very proud of it.”