North Texas Daily

Head coach Brad Stracke helping men’s golf regain prominence

Head coach Brad Stracke helping men’s golf regain prominence

March 21
16:40 2017

Jaz’man Hampton | Staff Writer

Guiding the North Texas men’s golf team since December 2009, head coach Brad Stracke has revived the program in more ways than one. After taking home the Conference USA title in 2015 and being named coach of the year, Stracke led the Mean Green back to heights they hadn’t reached in more than 40 years.

But Stracke has brought more than accolades to the Mean Green.

Along with his own knowledge from his playing days, Stracke has also created a bond with current and former players and coaches –  something none of them take for granted.

“It is an absolute pleasure to be working alongside coach Stracke,” assistant men’s golf coach Marco Scarola said. “I heard about the possibility of an assistant coaching job opening at North Texas and I acted on it right away. He is an incredible coach who has taught me so much in a short period of time.”

Stracke’s golf career began at a young age. In 1993, a few years before he began coaching, Stracke hit the links both at the collegiate and professional level. He won all-conference honors in 1993 and later was a sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open in 1995.

After his playing days were over, Stracke began his instructional career at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, mentoring amateur golfers who played the game mostly at the recreational level.

“I worked with guys that [were] scratched to twenty-five handicaps,” Stracke said. “I figured I could work with better players, or I could [continue to] work with guys that struggle and can’t really do what I instruct.”

That’s when Stracke made the move to coaching full-time.

Instead of coaching a scratch golfer – a player who can play to a course handicap of zero on an all rated course – Stracke transitioned to coaching college students. His first stint as head coach began at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa and lasted for nine seasons.

“As a career choice it was a good one for me,” Stracke said. “I like coaching younger, better players and helping them with their golf careers and life choices.”

While coaching at Indian Hills, Stracke created what he considers one of his best moments in coaching when he won the NJCAA National Championship in 2000. When his time in Iowa was up, Stracke became an assistant at the University of Florida, where he helped the Gators win three straight NCAA championships.

In the last few years alone, several of Stracke’s players have even gone on to compete on the PGA Tour.

Senior Cory Churchman believes one of the things that separates Stracke from other coaches he’s had is his attention to detail, especially when correcting errors in his swing.

“[Stracke] has taught me a lot about the strategy of the game and how to play golf courses precisely,” Churchman said. “I’m not just out there hitting golf balls. I really think I’m better at everything. I know how to play golf [better now].”

Although it is above and beyond what is expected of him, Stracke often takes several hours out of his day to work with his players one-on-one, even if it means staying until the sun goes down.

“I work with each [golfer] individually,” Stracke said. “I think my strengths are picking out [the player’s] weaknesses and correcting them.”

More than anything, though, Stracke demands one quality above all else in his players – dedication.

“There are times when you don’t want to give your all and coach won’t allow that,” Churchman said.

Along with Churchman, Scarola also knows firsthand the level of hard work Stracke requires. During his playing career, Scarola helped North Texas win two consecutive titles with Stracke at the helm. Now coaches, Stracke and Scarola often recruit together in the offseason and help current players improve their game.

This season, the Mean Green most recently finished tied for sixth place at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational and have roughly two months before the NCAA regionals in mid-May. Even though he has a young roster comprised of mainly freshmen and sophomores, Stracke remains confident about his team’s potential down the stretch.

Because no matter who is teeing it up, Stracke’s coaching philosophy is the same.

“I try to bring in the best kids possible and make them the best players they can be before they leave,” Stracke said.

Featured Image: Brad Stracke. Courtesy | Rick Yeatts

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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