FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When a team loses an All-American, any coach would worry about how his team will do the following year, but not first-year head golf coach Mike Ketcham.
Ketcham a former Razorback player and graduate in the mid 1980s is entering his 10th year of coaching after having stints at Oregon State, San Jose State and Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Ariz. With the loss of All-American Craig Lile, the Razorbacks are very young. While the Razorback’s have only one senior, Ketcham feels his team has great potential this year.
“There will be lots of new faces this year on our team that I feel will contribute,” he says. “Our returning players have gone out this summer and really worked hard and are looking like they will also contribute quite a bit.”
While the Razorbacks may be young, it doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. Four of the Razorback returnees had at least one top five finish last season. Talent is definitely not a problem for this year’s team.
Ketcham is a former Razorback player from 1986-87 and he is very happy to get a chance to coach his alma mater.
“Anytime a former player gets a chance to coach his alma mater is a great honor for him or her,” he says. “My family and I are very excited about the opportunity to move back to Northwest Arkansas and be a part of the Razorback tradition.”
He is also very excited about the Razorbacks potential this year to field a very sold team. In Ketcham’s first year, he has a squad that has no seniors and only two juniors. Someone will have to step and be a leader for his team. Ketcham feels the Hogs will succeed mainly because they are all eager and excited about all the possibilities of what could happen this year.
The team’s first tournament is this weekend in Johnson City, Tenn., at East Tennessee State. Junior Drew Higginbothom, sophomores Chad Faucett, Andrew Dahl and Adam Wing, and freshman Josh Farrell are traveling this weekend.
Other members of the team include senior Ryan Blagg, junior Beau Galyean, sophomore Seth Murphy, and freshmen Scott Jackson, Daniel Robinson and Jay Snider.
“I think all five players have the potential to win the tournament and when your team is that position, you usually feel good about them,” Ketcham says.
He felt good about his team’s consistency in qualifying play and feels confident each of his players will perform to their full capability each time out.