Sept. 17, 2012
***The following profile appeared in Saturday's Marshall-Ohio game program.***
Marshall men’s golf is entering a brand new era and new head coach, the first new head man for the men in 40 years, Matt Grobe is entering a whole new element.
As local golf specialist and the Thundering Herd’s head coach of men’s golf of the past 40 years Joe Feaganes retired, in stepped Matt Grobe, a Huntington native and former player under Feaganes, for his first true coaching job.
Grobe, the son of former Marshall assistant football coach (1979-83) and current Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe, returned to Huntington after spending the past 14 years in Nevada. He was working at DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson as the Head Golf Professional before he was offered the chance to return to a place where he learned the game of golf.
Coming back to Huntington allowed him to get into coaching, something he wanted to do for a while and Marshall was his dream job, “I always wanted to get into coaching and always wanted to come back to Marshall so it’s a dream realized,” Grobe said.
“When I played here nearly 20 years ago, I played for coach Feaganes and with a family that has always been involved in sports and coaching, it’s always been something I wanted to get into.”
Grobe knew what awaited him, a team that returned all but one player from the 2011-12 squad and the assistance from his former coach as he embarked on a new challenge.
Two juniors (Brian Anania and Jeremy Rogers) and one senior (Nathan Kerns) plus eight more golfers returned for Grobe. His three upperclassmen were an experienced and well groomed trio.
Kerns was coming off a red hot summer where we won the Ohio Amateur Championship and the Mid-Ohio Championship. Rogers was third in the West Virginia Amateur, while Anania participated in the U.S. Amateur after qualifying in the summer.
The three upperclassmen also provide the Herd’s new coach with another element, leadership. With a team facing a coaching change, even though it was known in advance, it still provided a tricky challenge for the first year head coach. Grobe knew that his two juniors and one senior would help him.
“There are a lot of things that you have to worry about once you get on campus, including the team, setting the roster, getting kids to the right classes and getting moved into their dorms,” he said.
“But to be able to have leadership from them that helps our sophomores and freshman and also allows me to let them take things when I might be preoccupied with other items really helps.”
Kerns, Anania and Rogers also are the prototypical college golfers according to Grobe. They have three qualities that most coaches want from their student-athletes he said.
“When you think of those three guys you think of three things, they are good character kids, good students and they are great golfers.”
“Those are the skills that coaches are looking for around the country,” Grobe commented about his top golfers.
Kerns used the summer as a way to prep for a strong final season with the Herd. The local native, who hails from Ironton, Ohio, won a total of three tournaments.
In his win at the Ohio Amateur, he finished with a 6-under-par 282 over 72 holes for a two-shot victory over Alex Redfield. Redfield is a recent Ohio State graduate who was the 2011 Marshall Invitational individual winner and was a 2012 PING All-Midwest Region pick.
The Thundering Herd golfer had a four-stroke lead until he double bogeyed the par-3 16th, but he finished par-par to get the title that had been previously won by such familiar golf names as Arnold Palmer, Ben Curtis and John Cook.
Another local kid, Anania of Hurricane, finished in the top 10 at both the West Virginia Open and West Virginia Amateur. He also survived an 11-hole playoff to qualify for the U.S. Amateur. He had three top-20 finishes in competition last season.
Rogers had a two-shot lead as he started the final nine in the West Virginia Amateur. He would eventually fall to Pat Carter, the volunteer coach for men’s golf and a 13-time winner of the state amateur title.
The three leaders for the Herd will be accompanied by a talented group of golfers for the fall.
Sophomore Tas Sipowski had the fourth best stroke average during last season. This included a round of 71 at the Florida Atlantic Spring Break Classic last March. He even added a hole-in-one while at the Conference USA Championship.
Jacob Miller and Aaron Barna accompany Sipowski as fellow sophomores on the men’s team. Josh Holmes and Huntington native Lance West, Jr. round out the returners in 2012.
Logan Lagodich of Canton, Ohio. is the top newcomer for coach Grobe. Individually, Lagodich was the 2011 runner-up in Ohio’s state tournament, and was also the sectional champion that same year. For his high school career, Lagodich has an 18-hole scoring average of 74.4.
Marshall also welcomes a native of West Virginia, Davey Jude, to the team in 2012-13.