McKendree University director of athletics Chuck Brueggemann has announced the hiring of Gus Montano as the new head coach for the men's and women's golf programs for the Bearcats.
Montano, a native of Chino Hills, Calif., brings NCAA Division I coaching experience to the McKendree program. That includes his most recent stop as the assistant men's coach at Georgia State University. In addition, Montano spent more than a decade working in various high-level roles with the American Junior Golf Association.
"We are thrilled to have Gus joining the McKendree family as our golf coach," said Brueggemann. "He has a proven record of success coaching at the collegiate level and developing young golf talent. Gus has worked with some of the top young stars who compete today at the professional level, not only with his time at the AJGA, but while coaching at UCLA and Georgia State as well.
"Gus is an experienced recruiter with ties not only to the southern and western part of the country, but maintains contacts at the international level as well. The intangibles that Gus brings to the table will help take the McKendree program to the next level, and we cannot wait for him to get started."
During his time at Georgia State, Montano was involved in all facets of coaching and administrative duties. He helped lead a resurgence for the Panthers' program that included the development of Jonathan Grey, who became the first GSU player to earn dreshman All-America honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America. As a team, Georgia State recorded seven top-five finishes during Montano"s tenure with the Panthers.
Prior to his experience at Georgia State, Montano spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant for the men"s and women's teams at UCLA. During the year, Montano was elevated to the role of acting head coach, where he led the Bruins to six different tournament championships, including five on the men's side and one with the women's program.
"I want to thank Chuck Brueggemann and (McKendree president) James Dennis for the opportunity to be a part of the McKendree family," said Montano. "There is an enthusiasm and a passion that the faculty and staff have at McKendree that ties in very well to my recruiting and coaching philosophy. I want to help add to the experience a student-athlete can have during their time in college.
"While we work towards developing the best players and program we can have at McKendree, we will also mold well-balanced student-athletes who will be successful once their college days are complete. I am looking forward to taking the McKendree golf program in that direction."
Montano served two different stints with the American Junior Golf Association. From 1997 through 2005, he was the director of rules and competitions as well as a tournament director for the organization. Montano was responsible for the in-house Rules of Golf program, which included training AJGA tournament directors in the understanding of the USGA Rules of Golf. In addition, Montano managed the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series for members ages 12-15.
After his coaching experience at UCLA, Montano returned to the AJGA in September 2006 as a tournament director and later as foundation manager. He created and implemented the AJGA online auction, which included recruiting and securing items for the event. Montano was also involved in Annual Fund solicitation and maintaining the organization"s alumni program. He stayed with the AJGA until his hiring at Georgia State in the summer of 2011.
Five times during his career with the AJGA, Montano served as the team captain for the Wyndam Cup, an annual Ryder Cup-style event featuring the top-10 ranked boys and girls from east of the Mississippi River versus their counterparts from the West. Montano was a captain from 2001 through 2004 and again in 2010.
Montano, who holds associate degrees from Citrus College and the Professional Golfers Career College, earned his bachelor"s degree from Georgia Gwinnett College in 2010.
Montano joins a group of impressive coaches and staff members who will be joining the McKendree athletics department for the 2014-15 academic year. That list includes Shannon O'Keefe, the Bearcats' new women's bowling coach; Bryan O'Keefe, the director of bowling for both the men's and women's programs; and Melissa Pearsall, who will take the reins of the McKendree women's lacrosse program.