Facebook: Lance Ringler’s College Golf Page
This past weekend was sort of the kickoff to college golf. The fall season will be over before you know it.
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was interviewing Augusta State’s Patrick Reed, Henrik Norlander, Mitchell Krywulycz, Taylor Floyd and Carter Newman after the Jaguars beat Oklahoma State to win the NCAA Championship. I still do not think match play is the way to go, but I can say with 100 percent certainty that the last two years have been more exciting from my point-of-view than what would have been watching Oklahoma State stroll to consecutive stroke-play national titles.
Enough of that stroke play/match play talk. This past summer was fairly boring for college golf followers, but I do have a few random thoughts:
• Two thumbs-up to the NGCA for doing away with their regular season match-play event and focusing on a very exciting two-person team event in early August.
• Kudos to the NCAA Women’s Golf Committee, and the sport as a whole, for leaving everything as is. The men have made many, many changes, and as of right now, I think the women have things just right: 24 teams at the championship, 24 teams at one of three regionals and stroke play at the finals. I would not change anything.
• It was great to see a couple of great venues added to the NCAA Championship – Riviera and Atlanta Athletic Club for the men – but was sad to see something behind the scenes cause Atlanta Athletic Club to pull out. I am sure we will continue to see these sort of storied places getting involved and hosting the men’s championship.
• Summer hires are always a topic of discussion, but this past summer that talk was fairly quiet – especially on the women’s side. The best hire was probably Florida State bringing Amy Bond back to Tallahassee after she learned the ropes at Princeton. But I continue to be amazed at the lack of talented assistant coaches that will not go after a smaller or mid-major Division I job. A source told me not a single assistant from a major conference applied for the job at Indiana State.
• On the men’s side, the hire of the summer goes to Idaho for bringing John Means back into the game. Means was the former coach at Minnesota and deserves a lot of credit for the 2002 Gopher squad that won the NCAA Championship the year after he resigned. Means also had a major influence on the Big Ten becoming as nationally competitive as it has been in the past decade. I also thought Oregon State hiring Jon Reehoorn (from Idaho), South Florida getting Chris Malloy (Florida State assistant) and Long Beach State naming Ryan Ressa (UCLA assistant) were all outstanding hires. And we can’t forget the move Brian Watts made, going from Oregon State and the Pac-10 to Army and the Patriot League. A great hire for Army.
• But for every Army hire, we see several each year that go in directions we would rarely, if ever, see in other college sports. Administrators hiring coaches with zero head coaching experience and sometimes no coaching experience at all, even when there were plenty of head coaches or coaches with head coaching experience who were applying.
• And finally the Arizona State women being left without a team due to a couple of transfers and players turning pro was a topic that was discussed. It’s a good thing teams are not required to play a fall season.