Loar won’t be retained as SMU men’s coach
After 13 seasons as the head men’s coach at Southern Methodist, Jay Loar learned May 22 that his current contract, which expires May 31, will not be renewed.
Loar said when he returned home to the Dallas area with his Mustangs team after finishing sixth – two strokes out of fifth place that would have earned a spot in the NCAA finals – at the NCAA West Regional, he had a voicemail from SMU athletics director Steve Orsini. Loar returned the call and was informed that he would not be returning to coach the team.
“I really thought he was calling to congratulate me and the team about the way we played at regionals and how we hung in there and almost knocked out Texas for a spot in the finals,” Loar told Golfweek. “Instead, he told me he had decided to go in another direction with men’s golf. I was pretty shocked, to say the least.”
Orsini said a search to replace Loar would begin immediately. Mike Dierks, the former head coach at Sam Houston State, Tulane and Houston, has been SMU’s associate men’s head coach under Loar since January 2008.
“We have decided to make a change in the leadership of the men’s golf program,” Orsini said. “We appreciate Coach Loar’s efforts here at SMU and wish him the best.
“With the support of this tremendous university and our great facilities and location in the heart of Dallas, there is no reason we can’t maintain a national-championship-caliber men’s golf program. Now, we’ll find the coach that can get us to that level. As I’ve said since I was hired, we will win at SMU.”
Loar’s teams have won more than 15 tournament titles, including three conference championships (two in the Western Athletic Conference and one in Conference USA). Twice, Loar was named Conference USA Coach of the Year, and in 2004 he was selected as the Golf Coaches Association of America’s South/Central Coach of the Year. Seven of his Mustangs players have earned All-America honors, including first-team selection Colt Knost, who also won the 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Amateur Championships while helping the U.S. win the Walker Cup that year.
SMU is No. 51 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. In the previous 10 seasons, Loar’s Mustangs finished only once out of the top 50 in the final rankings and five times placed in the top 40, including 28th in 2004-05.
“It has been the joy of my life to coach these great young men at SMU,” Loar said. “I am eternally grateful for the hundreds of friendships that have been fostered over the last 13 years.
“I have had an outpouring of support the last few days. I think everyone who knows me, knows I gave my all every day,” Loar said. “I leave with no regrets and a sense of pride with my work at SMU.
“It’s like I teach my players: It is not what happens to you in life or on the course that matters; it is how you respond that will determine your outcome,” Loar said. “I truly believe there is something exciting around the corner for me, some how, some way.”
– Lance Ringler contributed to this report.