College Men

South Dakota State hires Tenn. assistant to coach men, women

Casey VanDamme will coach the South Dakota State Jackrabbits men's and women's golf teams after five years as an assistant at Tennessee.
Casey VanDamme will coach the South Dakota State Jackrabbits men's and women's golf teams after five years as an assistant at Tennessee. ( University of Tennessee Athletics )

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Casey VanDamme, who spent the past five seasons as Tennessee's director of instruction and player development, has been named head men's and women's coach at South Dakota State, the school announced.

“Casey VanDamme brings a wealth of golf knowledge to this position," said Justin Sell, South Dakota State's athletic director. "He's known as an accomplished golf instructor and a tremendous addition to the Jackrabbit family. I know he'll be a great fit with our staff, and I believe the student-athletes on our current team and our golf letterwinners will immediately gravitate toward him and his personality.”

VanDamme becomes SDSU’s second full-time golf coach. He replaces Jared Baszler, who resigned May 3 after 11 seasons at the Brookings, S.D., school.

During VanDamme's tenure at Tennessee, the Volunteers equaled their best postseason stretch in school history, with five trips to the NCAA regionals, advancing to the 2010, '11 and '13 NCAA Championships. Tennessee won nine tournament titles while VanDamme was on staff.

"In the interview process, I was blown away by the vision and people enacting that vision at SDSU," VanDamme said. "There is no doubt SDSU is an athletic program on the rise, and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Tennessee head coach Jim Kelson called VanDamme "a phenomenal instructor."

"One of Casey’s greatest strengths is his ability to enact significant change in a player’s technique through subtle and simplistic instruction," Kelson said. "Very few people are skilled enough to accomplish major change with one simple thought. I saw this on a daily basis."

Before coaching at Tennessee, VanDamme spent seven years at the Jim McLean Golf Schools in Palm Springs, Calif., and Traverse City, Mich. VanDamme, 36, is a 2000 graduate of Northern Michigan.