By Brendan Ryan, Golf Placement Services
If you’re a die-hard college golf fan, and have been watching the regional coach’s announcements recently, you will have noticed that there are a lot of jobs open. While some jobs are the result of people retiring, it is also the beginning of the coach’s recruitment period, when college athletic directors start firing, hiring, and making very important decisions about college golf. Many that will impact you, as you enter the recruiting process yourself. You and these coaches will be communicating often over the next several months as you prepare to embark on your journey to college.
I know several people who I consider to be very good coaches with strong characters who were recently fired from their positions. In considering what happened in each situation, I now realize that many college administrators may not be making the best decisions for their respective colleges and their student athletes, and I want to take time to explain my point of view.
Despite what many people think, coaching college golf is not an easy job. In fact it is downright hard. Many coaches do not have an assistant. Some of them even have to juggle and women’s and men’s program. They have to be excellent recruiters, managers of budgets, builders of an attractive and competitive golf schedule. And all the time they must adhere to all the NCAA regulations. These challenges are real and make the job very demanding. Yet, despite all these demands, today college coaching is in better shape than ever. Now we have to work to keep it that way.
When I was a young coach, I worked at many junior camps at major colleges like Duke, Purdue and Wake Forest. I remember the days as being long, the kids being bad at golf and the weather always being hot. I also remember completing our tasks each day and then watch as the elite coaches like Nick Clinard, Ben Hannan and Grant Robbins going back to the dorms and get started on the days recruiting assignments. They were tenacious and driven to succeed. Coaching is a career that is taken very seriously. Today not only is D1 filled with stud players, but coaches are better than ever.
Attracting top talent is not easy. It’s a full-time job that demands all a coach has to offer. This may include facilities and scholarship allocation, something coaches do not always control. Yet when a team under performs it is always on the coach, as to why.
The reality is that instead of supporting coaches with the necessary tools to build a successful program, some administrators actually make it worse. They are the ones responsible for creating situations where coaches are going to struggle to compete because of a lack of funding or facilities.
Even in situations where coaches are supported with tools like scholarships, facilities and more, they face another challenge. Administrators who demand that coaches both win, as well as create an outstanding college experience for their student athletes. It is a ridiculous contradiction; to make kids better you have to push them. But push too hard and the kids can rebel. Or worse yet, get you fired. It’s not right and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding from the administration.
The reality is that college coaching is in outstanding shape but is still facing real obstacles. These are issues that need to be addressed to make sure that coaching can continue to be a sustainable job that attracts quality candidates for these jobs. I believe that with the help of administrators, some of these issues can be addressed and solved, which will result in better outcomes for everyone involved. I hope that this article stimulates conversation that pushes college golf forward and makes it a better place or players and coaches alike. Thanks for reading.