Men’s golf faces severe losses

The+Men%27s+golf+team+of+2015+celebrates+their+win+at+the+San+Marcos+Invitational.+Of+their+starting+five%2C+only+Junior+Colby+Dean+%28Second+from+the+left%29+remains.+Photo+Courtesy+of+TL+Brown.

The Men’s golf team of 2015 celebrates their win at the San Marcos Invitational. Of their starting five, only Junior Colby Dean (Second from the left) remains. Photo Courtesy of TL Brown.

Kenta Mcafee

As the men’s golf team prepares itself for the upcoming season, they do so with a lack of experience, an unsteady starting lineup, and a newly resigned coach.

The head coach of men’s golf, T.L. Brown, resigned over the summer for a new position at California Baptist University. Chico State has begun conducting a nation-wide search for a replacement coach, but has yet to make an announcement on their decision.

During Brown’s time at Chico State he amassed five NCAA Championship Finals appearances and finished as national runner-up twice. Brown has won the CCAA Coach of the Year award twice, and received the West Region Coach of the Year honor four times.

Women’s golf head coach and former student of Brown, Nick Green, has temporarily taken over the position as men’s head golf coach. Green said that he was shocked at Brown’s resignation.

“I was surprised when I got the email that Brown had left, it was something I didn’t see coming,” Green said.

Along with their head coach, the team also lost a tremendous amount of experience, as three of their starting five had graduated after the previous season. Lee Gearhart, Alistair Docherty, and Justin Wiles all played at least three years at the university, and had been a major factor in the ‘Cats dominance.

Gearhart finished in the top ten six times in tournaments last season, while Docherty boasted five and Wiles finished in the top five twice. All three athletes were All-American and acted as the leaders of the team.

Gearhart was confident in Chico State’s athletic program to find a suitable successor to Brown, and had confidence in the team’s upcoming season.

“Our athletic program wouldn’t have the reputation it does without all the great coaches Chico State has hired,” Gearhart said. “It’ll be tough for the team to lose the experience the seniors had, but I know we passed on some valuable knowledge.”

Adding to their loss of three seniors and their head coach, the ‘Cats have also lost Matt Hutchins, the freshman who competed in the NCAA Championships last season. Hutchins made the decision after his freshman year to join the golf program at UCLA, but was confident in his former teammates abilities to succeed.

“I had no idea that coach was leaving but I don’t think the losses will hurt the team that much. There’s plenty of guys with a lot of talent that can get the job done there,” Hutchins said.

While the team will retain six of its veteran members, the majority of the team is comprised of underclassmen. The team will also induct three new players to fill the vacancy left in the roster by the seniors and transfer students.

The team will begin their season on Sept. 21 at the NCAA Championship Preview in Denver, Colorado. While Green is hopeful for a replacement coach by this time, he was unconcerned about facing their first tournament together.

“There’s still a lot of talent on the team, and it’s an opportunity for other members to step up,” Green said.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.