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"I have been very fortunate to be able to pursue a passion for competitive golf at a few very special places with many outstanding people. Penn State has been one of those places. I have particularly enjoyed the Penn State approach to intercollegiate athletics. Penn State supports our program to be competitive athletically on a conference and national level, but insists that the student-athlete's education and well-being remain first and foremost."
- Coach Nye
In his 26th year at Penn State, men’s golf coach Greg Nye is the longest tenured coach in program history and has guided the Nittany Lions to national prominence, while bolstering the program’s reputation as a perennial power in eastern collegiate golf. The historic marches to NCAA Finals in 1996, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2017 are five major highlights of a respected career.
Nye has made significant contributions to Penn State and eastern collegiate golf, beginning with the 1995-96 season when it became the first ever Northeastern or Mid-Atlantic team to advance to the NCAA Finals since the regional format was established in 1987 with a ninth-place finish in the NCAA East Regional.
In 2004, his Nittany Lions rocked the collegiate golf world by nearly winning the NCAA East Regional. Penn State finished second out of 27 teams, seven of which were ranked in the nation’s top-15, including the nation’s No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. The Nittany Lions then went on to finish 15th amongst 30 teams at the NCAA Finals, making Penn State golf history with its highest team and individual finish with Mark Leon finishing 6th.
The team headed into Big Ten territory for the 2008 edition of the NCAA regionals after receiving a bid to the Central Regional hosted by Ohio State. The 13th-seeded Penn State team captured an eighth-place finish to secure its third NCAA Finals berth under Coach Nye.
The Penn State squad was propelled into the 2010 NCAA Finals in by seniors T.J. Howe and Kevin Foley. The standout team performance secured a fourth-place finish for the Nittany Lions at regionals upsetting several highly ranked teams finishing only two shots behind first place Texas. Howe’s first-place finish made Penn State history in that he became the first Lion to ever win a NCAA regional.
The second Nittany Lion to ever win an NCAA regional came in 2017, when Nye led Penn State to a fifth-place team finish in the NCAA Washington Regional to advance into the NCAA Finals in Sugar Grove, Ill. Junior Cole Miller captured the individual title, shooting 7-under par to win by three strokes. The Blue and White would go on to finish in a tie for 24th in the finals.
In April 2007, Nye marked a personal achievement while the Nittany Lions celebrated their victory at the Marshall Invitational, beating the next best team by 12 strokes. The championship, won on a cool, snowy weekend at the Guyan Golf and Country Club, was the 50th of Nye’s coaching career.
To date, Nye’s career coaching win total stands at 70. In his first two years, Nye’s teams set two Penn State records for the number of championships earned in a season, with six in 1992-93 and eight in 1993-94, a that mark was tied by the 1996-97 squad.
Academic & Athletic Excellence
In addition to the team’s success on the course, Nye has continually stressed strong performance in the classroom. In 1999-2000, 2001-2002 and 2015-16, his teams led the nation with three GCAA All-American Scholar team selections on each of those teams. During the summer of 2015, the Nittany Lions received Presidential Recognition by the Golf Coach Association with Stanford University for teams with a GPA over 3.5.
In 25 seasons at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have consistently achieved a team grade-point average greater than 3.00. In 2000-01, 2013-14 and 2014-15, Nye’s team received the award for the top GPA of the 31 intercollegiate teams at Penn State. Six times have his Lions topped all the men’s teams with latest accolade in the spring of 2016. Nye has coached 27 GCAA All-America Scholars and each year he has seen a high percentage of the team rewarded for their academic achievements with Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Nye’s teams have continually ranked near or at the top of the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast Region and 21 times his Nittany Lions have qualified for NCAA Championship Regionals, with a current streak of three straight NCAA Regional appearances in 2015, 2016 and 2017, while reaching the NCAA Championship Finals five times, including 2017. In 2011, senior T.J. Howe competed individually at the Virginia Tech regional. His squads have also won the Eastern Championship three straight seasons, 1993-95, and in 1997.
Nye has been awarded the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year 10 times, in 1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016, and 2017. He has coached 71 NCAA All-Region players, five Mid-Atlantic Region Players of the Year, 13 All-Big Ten selections, as well as nine NCAA All-Americans - Adam Decker (1997), Matt Abbott (2001), Mark Leon (2004), Foley (2008/09/10), Howe (2010), Charles Huntzinger (2016), and Cole Miller (2017).
"We have challenged ourselves with our schedule and the quality of our play has moved along with that challenge."
- Coach Nye
The Road to Happy Valley
After eight years as head coach of the Bowling Green State University men’s and women’s golf teams in Bowling Green, Ohio, Nye was attracted to Penn State and its membership in the Big Ten Conference. The 1987 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year developed a familiarity with Penn State through its golf camps, and has been directing golf camps for the last 34 years.
Nye has been a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America since 1984 and served as the Chair of the Ethics committee for 10 consecutive years from 1993-2003. In addition, he also served the NCAA as a District Selection Chair for the NCAA Championship from 1997-99. Nye, a “Class A” member of the PGA of America since 1982, began his career working as a golf professional in 1980.
Nye graduated from the College of Wooster (Ohio) in 1979 where he earned All-America honors each of his four years. As a sophomore, junior and senior, he received first-team honors. Nye and his teammates captured the first ever NCAA Division III Golf Championship in 1975, where he finished eighth individually. Before concluding his collegiate career, Nye earned second-, fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the NCAA Championship.
Nye was the individual champion in the Ohio Athletic Conference in his final two years at Wooster. In 1978, he set a conference margin of victory record winning by 11 shots. He played on Fighting Scot teams that captured conference titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977. While at Wooster, Nye played several notable national amateur tournaments, and after graduation he played professionally on the Florida mini-tours.
In 1990, Nye was inducted into the College of Wooster’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and was honored with induction into the Wayne County, Ohio Sports Hall of Fame in Wooster, Ohio, in 2002. In the fall of 2009, Nye was also inducted into the Wooster High School Hall of Fame.
A Life in Golf
When asked about how his life in golf and Penn State fit together Nye said, “Sports, golf, competing, coaching and teaching have been with me from the beginning. I have been very fortunate to be able to pursue a passion for competitive golf at a few, very special places with many outstanding people. Penn State has been one of those places. I have particularly enjoyed the Penn State approach to intercollegiate athletics. Penn State supports our program to be competitive athletically on a conference and national level, but insists that the student athletes’ education and well-being remains first and foremost.”
Nye and his wife, Marjie, reside in State College, and are parents of two sons Russell and Graham.
Nye Family Golf Tradition
Coach Nye’s two brothers and his father have all been greatly involved in the sport of golf. Father Bob Nye coached all three sons at the College of Wooster in Ohio and has seen each son find his own niche professionally.
Bob Nye coached golf and soccer at the College of Wooster from 1963-1996 and was inducted into Wooster’s Hall of Fame in 1997. He served as the president of the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) from 1984-86 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2000, the elder Nye received the GCAA’s highest distinction by being presented with the Honor Award for his lifetime contributions to golf. He was named the Golfweek Father of the Year in 2007.
Coach Nye’s brother, Scott, is the head golf professional at the prestigious Merion Golf Club, located in Ardmore, Pa., which has hosted four United States Open Championships. In his time at Merion they have hosted the 2004 US Amateur, the 2009 Walker Cup and recently hosted the 2013 U.S. Open.
Nye’s youngest brother, Gary, serves as the head golf professional at the Stock Farm Club in Hamilton, Mont.