Sports Outside the Beltway

Nevada Wolfpack golf team put on probation

Sounds to me like their coach liked to party. From AP-

The NCAA placed Nevada’s athletic department on probation for three years and fined it $1,500 on Thursday because of an ex-golf coach’s major rules violations but concluded there was no proof he gambled on college games and cleared all other sports of wrongdoing.

The NCAA investigation that began more than two years ago determined that Rich Merritt, former coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at various times, bought athletes beer, paid for meals and lodging, and helped cover travel expenses for one to try to qualify for the U.S. Open.

He also broke the rules by paying one woman Wolf Pack golfer $25 to complete two “crass acts” on a dare, one “involving the regurgitation of food and the other, spitting,” the NCAA said.

Nevada athletic director Cary Groth suspended Merritt for three matches after an internal investigation confirmed the allegations regarding meals and an airline ticket. He resigned in May 2008.

The school will lose a half scholarship for two seasons. Should Nevada be punished at all for the dumb acts of a former coach? Without knowing more, the coach appears to be the one at fault here.


Former BYU Golf coach Karl Tucker dead at 83

As coach of the Cougars for 31 years, he worked with Johnny Miller, Mike Weir, Mike Reid, Buddy Allin, and Bobby Clampett. All of whom went on to win on the PGA Tour. RIP.

Karl Tucker, who built BYU’s golf program into a national power and sent dozens of players to the PGA Tour, died Friday at his home in Orem. He was 83.tucker_k

A member of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, Tucker is best known for coaching the Cougars to the 1981 NCAA championship. His 31-year career, which ended in 1992, also was highlighted by two second-place finishes and 13 top-five placements in the national tournament, remarkable achievements for a cold-weather school.

“He’s just legendary,” said Bruce Brockbank, who played for Tucker, assisted him and then followed him as BYU’s coach. “There are so many people who were influenced by him.”

Tucker created strong loyalty, as evidenced by the way so many golfers have come back regularly for Cougar Day, joining in a fund-raising tournament for the program. He coached nine first-team All-Americans, including Johnny Miller and Mike Reid, who went on to long and successful tour careers. Mike Weir, a member of Tucker’s last team, won the Masters in 2003.

Known for trademark expressions such as “Just go play” — his way of telling golfers to disregard the weather or any other potential excuses — Tucker usually succeeded in getting the most out of each player.

“His great gift as a coach was he had such a keen understanding of the personalities of college kids,” Reid said. “He knew us so well. He probably never read it in a book, he just knew that everybody was different. Two guys would make the same mistake — one, he would chew out; the other, he would ignore.”

Citing Tucker’s outgoing nature, Reid one joked that nobody played golf for BYU “without learning how to talk.” Miller, Jim Nelford and Bobby Clampett became network broadcasters, while Reid went from being shy and withdrawn to a polished speaker.

“He put BYU golf on the map,” Miller said in a Utah Golf Association posting. “He had a great personality and was a great recruiter. He got people to come to BYU, even with the Utah weather.”


U of Minnesota Golf Coach Brad James resigns

The Gophers were National Champions in 2002 and won the Big 10 Championship three times under James leadership. From AP-

Minnesota golf coach Brad James resigned on Tuesday to take a position in his native Australia.

James is leaving to become the high performance director of Golf Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport. He will oversee the men’s and women’s national teams and also be responsible for developing the country’s young talent.

James has served as the Minnesota men’s coach since 2001 and has presided over both the men’s and women’s teams as the school’s director of golf for the past 2{ seasons.

He guided the men’s team to the 2002 NCAA championship and has four NCAA finals appearances on his resume.

James had a impressive record. Maybe former Minnesota gopher and 1996 British Open Champion Tom Lehman would be interested in replacing him.


Big Break- Jan Dowling to next Florida Gators Women’s golf coach

She once was an assistant coach at Duke and Kent State. From AP-

Florida hired Dowling as its golf coach Monday, giving the former “Big Break” contestant her first head coaching job.

Dowling replaces Jill Briles-Hinton, who resigned last month after the Gators finished 16th in the NCAA East regional played in Gainesville.

Dowling spent one year as an assistant at Duke and two seasons as an assistant at Kent State. She also played professionally for almost three years before entering the coaching ranks. From 2003 to 2005, she competed on the Futures Tour and on the Canadian Women’s Tour.

The Bradford, Ontario, native also participated in the Golf Channel’s reality TV series “Big Break” in 2005.

I love the sport of golf, but have never the Big Break. In fact, I don’t watch any reality shows.

As for college golf in general, on the women’s side fewer top golfers are playing collegiate ball before trying their luck at the LPGA. In fact, the only American LPGA golfer since 1998 who was 23 or younger and went to college for four years before winning their first event, is naturalized US citizen Candie Kung. LPGA players are winning at younger ages, but many if not most skipped playing college ball.


Duke University’s Michael Schachner shoots 60 at NCAA Tournament

It breaks a 13-year-old NCAA record.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Duke’s Michael Schachner broke the NCAA tournament record with a 10-under 60 on Friday, and Stanford took a two-stroke lead over Coastal Carolina with one round left.

Schachner, 120th after opening rounds of 79 and 69, matched the NCAA tournament record for lowest score in relation to par, former Stanford star Notah Begay’s 10-under 62 in 1994. Schachner jumped to 14th, four strokes behind the third-round leaders.

Schachner was 11 under after 14 holes, bogeyed No. 15 and closed with three pars. He missed a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have given him a 59.

“I was excited and I really thought I was going to make it,” Schachner said. “I’d been putting really well obviously. I had the line and just gave it a little too much speed. It hit the top edge and went by a little farther than I wanted. I think if I hit it a little softer it goes in. It would have been fun. I’m not complaining.”

The professional US record(let’s not get started on Kim-Il Jong) is 59, first set by Al Geiberger in 1977. David Duval, Chip Beck and I believe one other equaled that score(on one of the mini-tours) but I’m not certain. I’m sure Michael Schachner would like to have a Geiberger like career.


Complaints led University of Georgia golf coach to quit

More has learned about why the Bulldog women’s golf coach resigned last week.

ATHENS, Ga. – Todd McCorkle’s sudden decision to resign as the women’s golf coach at Georgia last week followed complaints from players about his inappropriate sexual comments and jokes, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

McCorkle’s resignation was announced May 7 and came three days after a memo in which he was told he would have to go through extensive anti-harassment training and would be suspended without pay for July. McCorkle instead quit, but athletic director Damon Evans said he would remain employed in another undisclosed job with the athletic department.

In the memo, University of Georgia executive director for legal affairs Steve Shewmaker told McCorkle several players had complained about the coach’s behavior.


The memo was one of several documents obtained in response to an open records request by the AP. The documents included 48 pages of handwritten notes by school investigators from interviews with current and former players.

McCorkle was said to have shared a sexually explicit Paris Hilton video from the Internet with the team. Players reported McCorkle shared remarks about bras and underwear color. Other comments were more explicit, referring to male anatomy. There was a mention by one player of inappropriate physical contact.

“He is randomly rubbing your back or flipping hair, or pat on butt — and otherwise not think anything about it — but with all the other stuff feels wrong,” the unidentified player wrote.

The university’s investigation began in April. Art Leon, the father of Georgia’s No. 1 player, Taylor Leon, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution his complaints to Evans led to the investigation.

“I’m the person that initiated it,” Leon told the paper. “He doesn’t need to be a coach of women’s golf anywhere. He got what he deserved.”

McCorkle said he resigned to remove the cloud over the golf program. My own opinion is he showed poor judgment. Did he deserve to get fired? No and the University of Georgia didn’t take that action. It may have for the best that McCorkle left so any controversy would die away. Hopefully the Georgia golf program can move on from this experience and beat the Florida Gators! LOL, I live in Florida but am not a UF fan.


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