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Stith to lead Hawkeyes

BY NICK VITTORE | OCTOBER 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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After six-and-a-half seasons as an assistant coach, Tyler Stith has now coached his first two college golf matches as the head coach of the Iowa men’s golf program.

“It’s been extremely humbling and exciting to come back to a program and school that means a lot to me and my family,” he said. “I’m extremely honored to come back here and become the head coach.”

The Mount Pleasant native golfed at Iowa and graduated in 2002. He started his coaching career as an assistant for the Hawkeyes in 2007-08 and held that position for three-and-a-half seasons.

Stith left to become an assistant at the University of Minnesota before the 2011-12 season, and coached there for three seasons. Stith helped lead the Golden Gophers to the national championship in two of his three seasons with the team.

The new boss replaced Mark Hankins, who resigned at the end of last season to become the assistant to the athletics director. Hankins led the Hawkeyes to 11 tournament titles and three NCAA championship appearances in seven years at the helm.

The program progressed in Hankins’ time at Iowa. Stith, who was part of Iowa’s coaching staff during three of those years, said he knows what it’ll take to continue the Hawkeye’s recent run of success.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I was here for three of those years, so I’m certainly aware of our history, which is something I’m extremely proud to be a part of. My job right now is to be able to take that same blueprint that I learned, sustain the success that we’ve had, and continue to grow from here.”  

Minnesota head coach John Carlson had only positive things to say about Stith.

“He had a great relationship with the players and took on a lot of projects like player development,” Carlson said. “One of the reasons he came to Minnesota is that during this time, he learned a lot about course management. He was able to help players make decisions, which made a difference. He will take that valuable skill and apply it at Iowa.”

Before Stith left, Carlson offered him some advice.

He said that Stith must be patient in the development stage and prepared to make tough decisions pertaining to the roster. Moreover, the coach said, Stith must continue to implement his successful coaching philosophy at Iowa.

“On the course, he should continue to teach his assistants,” Carlson said. “Off the golf course, my advice for him is to continue preaching discipline.”

Iowa’s highest ranked golfer, sophomore Carson Schaake, said Stith’s ability to bring the team together was uncanny.

“The overall team chemistry seems a little different this year compared with last year,” Schaake said. “Coach Stith wants the eight of us (players) to be a family and not just a golf team. He really wants us to be a brotherhood that can relate with each other on a personal level, not just on a teammate level.”

Under the guidance of Stith, a five-man Hawks squad shot 874 at the par-72 Golfweek Conference Challenge, 1 stroke better than the performance at the tournament last year. The Hawks then shot 849 to tie for third at the Windon Memorial. Last year, they shot 885 and finished ninth.

Schaake says Stith’s will to win stands out, and he knows that the coach will do everything he can to put Iowa in position to win.

“I take winning very seriously,” Schaake said. “And when I met coach, I realized how much work he puts into the program. He will do his best to put us in a position to win golf tournaments.”

Follow @NickVittore on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s golf team.


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