After a 32 year absence, golf has returned to West Virginia University varsity athletics. As a proud WVU alumni (twice!) and a fanatic golfer, I couldn’t be happier.
The reintroduction of the sport comes as a result of WVU’s membership in the Big 12. All ten of the Big 12 schools now have golf as a men’s varsity sport.
The Big 12 is a tough conference, with 14 national championships. Texas won as recently as 2012; Oklahoma State, in 2006. Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State), Jordan Speith (Texas) and Jimmy Walker (Baylor) all attended Big 12 schools.
WVU’s new head golf coach is Sean Covich, who served as a Mississippi State assistant for the past three seasons. Covich comes from a golf family. His father is a PGA of America club professional.
At this point, the team has just five players: Taewan Lee, Jon Ransone, Easton Renwick, Mason Short and Chris Williams. All are redshirts for the 2014-2015 season. The team will grow to ten by August, when the next season begins. The new players will be freshmen and transfers.
Given the harsh winters in Morgantown, the golf team will suffer from the same disadvantages as baseball. You just don’t get as much practice in as warm weather schools. The WVU baseball team, however, has managed to overcome. Under Coach Mazy, the baseball team has qualified for the Big 12 Championship in each of its first two seasons, and just missed last year’s NCAA regionals.
To help the team get a jump start, Coach Covich recently took the five on a weekend trip to Florida, where they played Jupier Hills and Quail Valley. They also met with former PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka, a WVU alumni.