UPDATE: Arizona State released information for a Celebration of Life for Randy Lein. It will be Jan. 20 at Papago Golf Course, ASU’s home course. The official message was signed by current ASU golf coaches Missy Farr-Kaye and Matt Thurmond.
Randy Lein, one of the most successful coaches in men’s college golf, has died.
Lein, 69, led Arizona State’s men’s golf program to eight conference titles during an 18-year run, from 2003-2010. His Sun Devil went to the postseason in all but one of those 18 seasons.
Lein was inducted into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009.
He led the Sun Devils to the 1996 national title and coached two others – Todd Demsey in 1993 and Alejandro Canizares in 2003 – to individual national crowns.
Futher individual accomplishments by Lein’s golfers: Jeff Quinney won the 2000 U.S. Amateur, Chez Reavie won the 2001 U.S. Public Links, Paul Casey was the English Amateur champ in 1998 and 1999 and Stephan Gross won the 2009 English Amateur.
“A sad day in Sun Devil Athletics,” Arizona State tweeted on Thursday.
Lein’s teams won 44 tournaments, six straight conference crowns (eight overall), five NCAA Regional titles and 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championship. Only Oklahoma State and Clemson had more top-five finishes in the NCAAs during Lein’s tenure.
He had 18 golfers named All-Americans, including six who were three-time honorees.
Lein was a seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year winner, five times at ASU and two at USC, where he coached for eight seasons prior to heading to Tempe.
He was inducted into Arizona State’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015 along with his former standout golfer Reavie.
Lein was let go by ASU in 2011 and told Golfweek at that time: “I was not expecting it. A change was made, right or wrong, and I will support whomever comes in. ASU has always been great to me.”
In his final season, ASU finished 18th at the NCAAs after finishing 9th in the conference tournament.
Lein was replaced by Tim Mickelson. Matt Thurmond is the current ASU men’s coach.
“I was a complete nobody and he was a legend, and he still took time to talk to me and value my thoughts,” Thurmond said. “Everyone liked Randy. He was over the top nice and kind and generous with his time. He didn’t have enemies and didn’t really take sides. He was kind of a statesman.
“No matter what we do in the future, Randy will have been a deep part of it. His DNA is all through the program. He set the standard forever to live up to. His legacy will live on for a very long time.”
Linda Vollstedt was ASU women’s golf coach from 1980-2001, overlapping with Lein’s tenure for nine years.
“What I really saw is that he had a real passion for coaching,” she said. “His players were his family. Even after they left the program, he continued to stay in touch with them and follow them. He really cared about his players.”
The Arizona Republic contributed to this article.