LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE 3) — Bellarmine University's golf coach died when a fire started at his Louisville apartment Wednesday.
Ernie Denham spent decades as a collegiate golf coach in Kentucky, and he was getting ready to enter his 18th season as golf coach at Bellarmine.
The 75-year-old was a graduate of both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
He had a passion for gold and his coaching influenced generations of young golfers.
"I'm gonna miss his handshake," said James Inman, who played under Denham. "He really allowed me to keep my dream going, which is, I'm grateful for that because because of his love for the game."
"Ernie was definitely a player's coach, he really cared about his guys and went above and beyond whenever we needed him," said David Shearn, who played and coached with Denham.
Whether it was his quickness with stats and score cards, his love of Coke slushies, or his ability to seemingly be in two places at once, his love for the sport and attention to all those he coached left a lasting impression.
"We thought he kinda had tunnels on every single golf course we went to, because he would pop up randomly at any spot and then next think you know he was gone," Shearn told WAVE 3. "He was a very caring guy and if you put in the effort and kinda showed him that you cared he really took care of you."
Before coming to Bellarmine, Denham was the head coach at UofL for a number of years. He was also the Executive Director of the Kentucky Golf Association and Kentucky Section PGA for 11 years.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.