Golf has always been part of Roger Warren's life.
The former Crown and Dundee-Crown high school teacher and coach played the sport growing up and worked summers from 1973-186 at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn.
"I played soccer in college and played semipro soccer after I got out of college," he said. "I always had played golf. I took it up as a game I wanted to get better at."
Warren, who will be inducted into the D-C Athletic Hall of Fame next weekend, started teaching at Crown in 1978 and left Dundee-Crown in 1986 to pursue a career in the golf industry.
Two-and-a-half decades later that pursuit has worked out rather well for the 63-year-old Warren, who is president of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island, S.C. A winner of myriad awards, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is home to 5 championship courses, including the Ocean Course, which has been the past home of the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship.
After leaving D-C, Warren was the director of golf at Village Links for five years. He then held the same position at Seven Bridges in Woodridge from 1991 to 2003.
Warren left Seven Bridges to head to South Carolina where he started as director of golf and later was promoted to his current position as resort president. Along the way he was an officer for the Illinois section of PGA of America and later was an officer for the national PGA of America organization before serving as PGA of America president from 2004-2006. Warren entered the PGA of America apprentice program at age 38.
A Peoria native who is a product of Galesburg High School, Western Illinois University and Northern Illinois University (master's degree), said his time at Dundee-Crown greatly prepared him for the next chapter of his life in the golf industry.
Warren coached boys' basketball at Crown and D-C from 1978-1984 (under recently retired Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle) and was D-C's head coach in 1985 and 1986. He also held head golf and sophomore baseball coaching positions during his tenure in Carpentersville. Warren also was an assistant basketball coach at Glenbard West for two seasons and was the head boys' basketball coach at IMSA for three seasons (he started the program there).
"My experience at Dundee-Crown set me up for the rest of my career," said Warren, who at one point was the head of the Dundee-Crown physical education department. "I was given an opportunity to work on my leadership and teaching skills. It was a great experience. I made some great friends and was exposed to a lot of good young athletes."
He added his summer job at Village Links paid equally important future dividends.
"I was exposed to golf and exposed to the process of managing a golf facility," said Warren, whose son, Michael, is a full-time caddie at the Ocean Course (Warren has been married to his wife, Mary, for more than 40 years).
"In 1986 I thought about what I wanted to do in the future and I thought the golf industry was a good opportunity and I made the change. I've been very fortunate in being able to move into a position of responsibility. It challenged me and forced me to learn things I didn't know. I'm extremely fortunate to have the opportunities I've had and to appreciate those opportunities."