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Hughes, Huntzinger Claim Two of Top Three Spots in Nittany Lions’ Nine-Stroke Victory
Huntzinger Positions Himself to Defend Individual Title with 7-under in Round Two
Hughes is low-man and individual leader after firing opening round 6-under
Huntzinger is ready to defend his individual title at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate
All five Nittany Lions finish in the top-30 to secure first title of 2017-18
"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
The most significant contribution Nye has made to Penn State and eastern collegiate golf history came at the end of the 1995-96 season, when he led the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Finals with a ninth-place finish in the NCAA East Regional.
With their triumphant finish at the East Regional, the Nittany Lions became the first team from either of the NCAAs eastern sections - District I or II - to advance to the finals since the regional format was established in 1987.
In 2004, his Nittany Lions rocked the collegiate golf world by nearly winning the NCAA East Regional, finishing second out of 27 teams, seven of which were ranked in the nation's top 15. One of the teams finishing behind the Lions was No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. The Nittany Lions then went on to finish 15th among 30 teams at the NCAA Finals, making Penn State golf history with its highest team finish ever. 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 championship berth under Coach Nye.
At the Championship, the squad sat in 25th after the third round and did not make the 15-team cut to advance to the final round. Kevin Foley tied for 23rd in the third round and was the sole Nittany Lion to compete in the final round. The talented sophomore held on to his 23rd-place position at the completion of the championship.
The Penn State squad was propelled into the 2010 NCAA Finals by seniors T.J. Howe and Kevin Foley. The standout performances by the pair secured a fourth-place finish for the Nittany Lions at regionals, knocking off higher-ranked opponents including No. 17 South Carolina and No. 19 Virginia. Howe's t-1st-place finish made Penn State history as he collected the best individual regional finish by any Nittany Lion golfer.
"The 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2010 teams were very special," said Nye. "More importantly, they were very tough minded and believed they could be successful against the higher ranked teams."
Personal Milestone at Marshall Invitational
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 65.
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 mark that 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 15 of 20 seasons at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have achieved a team grade-point average greater than 3.00. In 2000-01, Nye's team posted the best G.P.A. of any of the 31 intercollegiate teams at Penn State. Nye has coached 17 GCAA All-America Scholars, one GTE Academic All-American 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 Region. The team has qualified for the NCAA Regional 20 times, most recently in 2016. 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 was voted the NCAA District II Coach of the Year in 1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2015. He has coached 35 NCAA All-Region players, five Mid-Atlantic Region Players of the Year, ten All-Big Ten selections, as well as six NCAA All-Americans - Adam Decker (1997), Matt Abbott (2001), Mark Leon (2004), Foley (2008/09/10) Howe (2010) and Charles Huntzinger (2016).
"Our program has grown on the national scene as we watched our rankings consistently stay in the top 25 percent of all Division I golf programs," Nye said. "We have challenged ourselves with our schedule and the quality of our play has moved right along with that challenge."
"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 as a visiting primary instructor to its golf camps. Nye is currently the co-director of the Penn State golf camps, which run for four weeks each summer.
Nye has been a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America for 28 years and served as the Chair of the Ethics committee from 1993-2003. In addition, he also served the NCAA as a District Selection Chair for the NCAA Championship from 1997-99. Nye, a PGA "Class A" member since 1982, began his professional 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 seasons. As a sophomore, junior and senior, he received first-team honors. With a second-team selection in his first year, Nye and his teammates captured the 1975 NCAA Division III Golf Championship in which he finished eighth individually. Before concluding his collegiate career, Nye earned second, fourth and sixth-place finishes in the national 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 squads that captured conference titles in 1975, 1976, and 1977.
In 1990, Nye was inducted into 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.
Nye's national amateur tournament experience is considerable. While at Wooster, he twice gained exemptions to play in the Western Amateur and Porter Cup. He also played in the Eastern, Canadian and U.S. Amateurs. He played professionally on the North Florida mini-tour in 1980.
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 with their two sons, Russell and Graham.
Nye Family Golf Tradition
Coach Nye, his 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 Golfweek's 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. Merion hosted the 2009 Walker Cup and will host the 2013 U.S. Open.
Nye's youngest brother, Gary, serves as the head golf professional at the Stock Farm Club in Hamilton, MT.