PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America has appointed Junior Bridgeman, a former University of Louisville and NBA standout, to serve on The PGA Board of Directors. Bridgeman, 54, one of the most respected restaurant entrepreneurs in the country, will succeed Lt. Gen. Normand (Norm) Lezy of Garden Ridge, Texas, and will be sworn in as an Independent Director at the 91st PGA Annual Meeting, Jan. 16, at The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Ulysses "Junior" Bridgeman followed his career at the University of Louisville with 10 years with the Milwaukee Bucks and two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. He retired from professional basketball in 1986 and is one of only five Bucks to have his number retired. The chief executive officer of Bridgeman Foods Inc., which he founded in 1988, Bridgeman is the owner and president of Manna Inc., and oversees the administration and operation of 160 Wendy’s restaurants in five states and 103 Chili’s restaurants in seven states.
"The PGA of America proudly welcomes Junior Bridgeman to the PGA Board of Directors," said PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. "Junior’s impressive business acumen which followed an outstanding career in professional sports has enabled him to be a respected leader and someone whom our Association may call upon to support and to assist in building participation in the game and the business of golf."
Bridgeman, a member of Valhalla Golf Club, is a 1975 graduate in psychology from the University of Louisville. During his professional basketball career, Bridgeman was employed as a sales and public relations representative for Howard Johnson in Milwaukee. He also is a former analyst with Towers, Perrin, Foster & Crosby Insurance Consultants in Milwaukee. He polished his leadership skills through 11 years with the NBA Players Association, acting as a liaison between players and management and later serving four years as association president.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Fifth Third Bank; The Library Board. He is Capital Campaign Co-Chair for the African American Heritage Foundation and serves as Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees University of Louisville and past Chair current Co-Chair of the Grand Gala Derby Event.
Bridgeman Foods has received the following prestigious awards from Wendy’s International: The Diamond Award (most effective neighborhood marketer); the Wendy Award (exemplary performance by a franchisee); the Founder’s Award (recognizing operational excellence by a franchisee).
Born in East Chicago, Ind., Bridgeman was a member of the 1971 East Chicago Washington High School basketball team that went undefeated (29-0) and won the Indiana state high school basketball championship. A 6-foot-5 guard/forward, Bridgeman was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 and traded to the Milwaukee Bucks with Brian Winters for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bridgeman went on to score 11,517 points during his 12-year NBA career. Although he was the sixth man for most of his career, he averaged double figures in scoring for nine consecutive seasons. He played in 711 games for the Bucks, the most in franchise history, although starting just 105 times. His No. 2 jersey was retired by the Bucks franchise in 1988.
Bridgeman and his wife, Doris, live in Louisville, and are the parents of three boys-Justin, Ryan and Eden.
The PGA’s Board of Directors consists of two Independent Directors who are chosen from the business, academic or military sector to provide an outside perspective to fellow board members, who are PGA Professionals representing their respective geographic districts. Mary Bea Porter-King of Lihue, Hawaii, currently holds the other Independent Director position.
The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives, and award-winning golf promotions. Today’s PGA Professional is the public’s link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.