News & ToursJune 25, 2009

While Lucas Glover was winning the Open ...

Sorry for the silence on my end the last few days ... finally have dried out from Bethpage.

I talked to Clemson men's coach Larry Penley Monday afternoon, not long after former Tiger Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open title. Not surprisingly Penley was elated for Glover. So naturally, Penley was glued to a TV watching his former charge win the national championship, right?

Well sort of ... Penley was in the middle of teaching a summer golf camp back on campus. Some time before noon, he finally had everyone stop for an extended lunch and then got to retreat to the Clemson team room to watch Glover pull out the victory.


The men's coaching carousel got into full swing this past week with a couple big jobs being filled. Nick Clinard goes to Auburn (leaving the UCF position open), and former Georgia All-American Ryan Hybl heads to Oklahoma.

Hybl's move comes with some interesting irony in that his football playing older brother, Nate, transferred from Georgia to Oklahoma and eventually was the Sooners' starting quarterback in the early 2000s. As was the case with Jan Dowling going to Florida, I'm surprised the OU athletic department didn't get somebody with some head coaching experience, but I think they made a solid choice in Hybl. He's very personable and should have success in the recruiting process.

Clinard's move to Auburn also makes a lot of sense. He had success with the Knights and is more than ready to make the transition to the SEC. The hard part about this move is what it does to UCF. It's a mid-major program that was starting to thrive but loses momentum now that it's leader is gone.


The opening that intrigues me most that's yet to be filled is at Houston, where the contract of Vince Jarrett was not renewed in May. Since then, a new athletic director (Mack Rhoades) has also been hired, which would suggest that the position might not be filled until after the magic July 1 date where coaches can begin to talk to high school seniors-to-be.

Under legendary coach Dave Williams, Houston was the dominant program in men's college golf for three plus decades. That it has all but collapsed in the last 15 years is pretty amazing to me. I wrote a feature on the program's sad fate a few years back, and since then the situation has gotten no better. Economics has been a big problem, in that funding for the program has been lacking. What's even more sad, however, is how the Cougar alumni who played during the glory days has essentially sat on its hands and watched the collapse. Today's recruits have no knowledge of Houston as a strong program, and with__Fred Couples__ soon turning 50, it's last great PGA Tour player is also almost at the end of his career.

Just what the program can do, if anything, to right itself is an interesting point of debate. While there are plenty of good facilities in the great Houston area for the team to utilize, not having a true home course to call its own has put the team at a significant disadvantage. It will be interesting to see if any progress can be made by the next hire.

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