Augusta State to name McPherson as men’s coach

Augusta State's Patrick Reed (right) fist-bumps assistant Kevin McPherson during the finals of the NCAA Championship on June 5.

Augusta State's Patrick Reed (right) fist-bumps assistant Kevin McPherson during the finals of the NCAA Championship on June 5.

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After all of the offseason turnover at Augusta State, the Jaguars will turn toward a familiar face to lead their men’s program.

Kevin McPherson, who served as Josh Gregory’s assistant as Augusta State won an improbable second consecutive national championship, will be named head coach at a news conference Wednesday morning.

The news was reported today in The Augusta Chronicle. Sources close to the program confirmed the hiring for Golfweek.

McPherson, 31, who also coached Augusta State’s women for the past three seasons, was one of five finalists. The others, all men’s assistants: Steve Bradley (Florida), Jack O’Keefe (Mississippi), Scott Limbaugh (Alabama) and Blake Smart (Oklahoma).

photo

Kevin McPherson

Gregory, who resigned after the NCAAs to become head coach at SMU, his alma mater, said McPherson is "the right fit for the job."

"Kevin is very deserving of it. He is passionate, hungry and he knows that program inside and out, and that is a big part of that program. That job is a lot about the relationships with the people in the community, and he is perfect for it," Gregory said.

"What he did at nationals this year, helping me out, shows his ability to be the head coach."

As unlikely as last year’s second national title might have been for Augusta State, which upset top-ranked Oklahoma State in the match-play semifinals on the Cowboys’ home course and then defeated Georgia in the final, any thought of a three-peat would seem preposterous.

ASU, which is NCAA Division II in all sports except men’s and women’s golf, lost its coach and top five players: seniors Ollie Bengtsson, Mitch Krywulycz, Carter Newman and Henrik Norlander to graduation and junior Patrick Reed to the professional ranks.

Augusta State returns four letter winners: seniors Taylor Floyd and Brendan Gillins and sophomores Alex Wennstam and Shawn Yim. Freshmen Jack Heasman, Robin Pettersson and Cody Shafer will join redshirt junior Derek Chang, a Minnesota transfer, in a wide-open quest for playing time.

McPherson’s duties with the men’s team were limited. However, with Gregory out for the birth of his son last fall, McPherson served as the interim coach at the season-opening Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invite, where Augusta State tied Oklahoma State for second place, seven shots behind Florida.

Augusta State's women earned an at-large bid into postseason play and placed 17th at the NCAA East Regional.

McPherson, whose sister Kristy plays on the LPGA tour, is a 2006 graduate of Belmont Abbey, where he was an all-conference golfer.

Augusta State will search for McPherson’s replacement as women’s coach.

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