Norman, Okla. – Lynn University head men's golf coach Andy Walker has been named the Dave Williams Division II National Coach of the Year presented by Golf Pride Grips, as announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) on Friday morning. Walker becomes the second consecutive Lynn men's golf coach to win National Coach of the Year, the third in program history and the 18th overall for the Fighting Knights.
"This award is a testament to the hard work of our team and my assistant coach, Keith Larson, and their belief in our system of preparation," said Walker. "We could not have accomplished so much without the support of the entire athletic and academic staff at Lynn and my family and my friends who offer unwavering love and mentorship. This is an award for all of us."
After turning over two-fifths of the 2018 national championship squad, Walker navigated the Fighting Knights to a victory in the prestigious Otter Invitational in the fall before settling on his starting five in mid-March. Once together, Lynn would finish first or second in its final five tournaments, winning the Bobcat Invitational a tournament-best sixth time, claiming the second NCAA South/Southeast Regional title in program history and knocking off Lincoln Memorial 3-2 to win the program's second consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship.
His five tournament wins are the most by a first-year men's golf coach in program history while Walker becomes just the third head coach in Lynn history to win a national title in his inaugural season, and the first in over two decades (Shaun Pendleton, men's soccer – 1991; Rocky Orrezoli, women's soccer – 1998).
Walker mentored junior Toto Gana into becoming a GCAA First Team All-American, the program's first since 2015, while overseeing the development of Freshmen All-Americans Agustin Errazuriz and Giovanni Manzoni. The team also posted the second-lowest team average (286.97) and average individual stroke average (72.67) in program history.
Under the first-year coach, Lynn extended its NCAA record (Division I and II) streak of match play appearances to eight and national match play finals appearances to six.
Walker is no stranger to Dave Williams National Coach of the Year recognition after winning the top honor for NJCAA Division II in 2015 while guiding South Mountain Community College to the NJCAA Division II National Title. He was also the NJCAA Division II West Region Coach of the Year in 2016 after a second national crown. Walker follows in the footsteps of former Lynn head coaches Andrew Danna (2018) and Eric Abreu (1996) as national coach of the year recipients.
Stanford's Conrad Ray was honored as the Division I recipient while Illinois Wesleyan's Jim Ott claimed Division II recognition. Bobby Cornett (Texas Wesleyan), Walt Williams (Midland CC) and Aaron Putz (South Mountain CC) were selected for NAIA, NJCAA D1 and NJCAA D2.
The Fighting Knights will look for the three-peat in 2019-20 as all five starters return from the national championship squad.