In his first six seasons as the men's golf coach at MSU, Mark Hankins has pointed the Spartan men's golf team in the right direction, building MSU into one of the top golf programs in the Big Ten and nation. During his tenure at State, Hankins has led the team to seven tournament wins and 55 top-10 tournament finishes.
Yet, the Spartans have been just as busy off the course as on; achieving success in the classroom as well. Hankins coached two-time NGCA Scholar-Athlete John Koskinen (2002, 2003), and has had at least one player earn Academic All-Big Ten honors in each of his six seasons at MSU, including a career-best four last year.
In the 2005-06 season, the Spartans posted three top-five finishes and traveled to Japan for the prestigious Topy Cup. MSU finished third and was only the third Big Ten team ever chosen to represent the United States at the Japanese invitational.
Individually, Brehm and Harmon continued to rewrite the Spartan record books. Brehm shot a program-best 64 in the first round of the Big Ten Championships, en route to his second consecutive second-place finish. Harmon captured his first career individual title at the EZ-GO Schenkel Invitational, carding a 207 total, the third-best 54-hole score in program history. Performances like these carried Brehm and Harmon to the top two spots on the program's low career scoring average list. In his career, Hankins has coached eight of the top 10 players in the program's history.
Brehm, the 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, while Harmon was a second-team honoree. In addition, Hankins coached a program-best six Academic All-Big Ten selections.
The 2004-05 season was an impressive one for the Spartans, as they placed in the top five in nine of their eleven tournaments. After leading the Spartans to their first Big Ten Championship since 1969, Hankins was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Following this accomplishment, MSU made its third trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament in four years.
The 2005 Big Ten Championship win marked only the second conference title in the program's history, and made Hankins the first Spartan golf coach to receive Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. Ryan Brehm was the first-ever Spartan to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, after setting the pace for MSU with a career-best 203 (68-65-70) en route to a second-place finish. Brehm's score of 65 in the second round tied a course and MSU 18-hole record. Matt Harmon and Andrew Ruthkoski were named First-Team All Big Ten, while Brehm was a Second-Team All-Big Ten honoree.
The team started off the year with five top-three finishes, including back-to-back second-place finishes at the Inverness Intercollegiate and the Central Regional Challenge. The Spartans then took their first tournament win in two years at the Adams Cup of Newport, and earned another tournament win at the Landfall Tradition.
The 2004-05 season came to a close at the NCAA Regional Tournament, where the Spartans finished tied for 13th. Following tournament play, three Spartans -- Ryan Brehm, Matt Harmon and Andrew Ruthkoski -- were named to the PING All-Midwest Region Team.
The 2003-04 season saw MSU post 11 top-20 finishes, including six in the top 10. State opened the season with two top-five showings in its first three tournaments (third at the Badger Invitational and second at the Adams Cup of Newport). In addition, freshman Craig Revell took medalist honors at the Badger Invitational (Sept. 12-14) in his first collegiate event. The team was led by junior Andrew Ruthkoski, who posted the fifth-lowest single-season stroke average, and freshman Matt Harmon, who shot the second-best 18-hole score in school history with a 66 at the Duke Classic.
Michigan State advanced to the NCAA Central Regional for a second-straight season in 2003. The Spartans opened the campaign with five top-three showings, including back-to-back first-place finishes at the Wolverine Invitational and the Adams Cup of Newport. All told, MSU posted 10 top-10 finishes in 2003.
In 2002, Hankins guided MSU to its first trip to the NCAA Regional since 1994 and established a ranking of 27th in the nation. In addition to winning the Pepsi-Cola Invitational, Michigan State captured a pair of second-place finishes at the Adams Cup of Newport and the Big Red Classic, and a third-place showing at the Robert Kepler Invitational. MSU posted eight top-five finishes in 2001-02.
A number of MSU individuals reached national prominence during the 2001-02 season. Eric Jorgensen became the first Spartan men's golfer ever to take medalist honors at the Big Ten Championship. Jorgensen, a third-team All-American, also captured individual medalist honors at the Pepsi-Cola Invitational in March 2002. Jorgensen's outstanding summer included a victory at the 102nd North and South Amateur. Koskinen joined Jorgensen in 2002 as an All-Big Ten and All-Midwest District selection.
In his first two seasons at MSU (1999-2001), the Spartans posted 19 top-10 finishes out of 22 tournaments. MSU finished second at the Adams Cup of Newport in 1999 and Kent State's FirstEnergy Collegiate in 2001.
Hankins joined the Spartan program on May 26, 1999, following a brief but impressive stint as the men's head golf coach at the University of Texas at Arlington. He led the Mavericks to the NCAA Regionals in each of his two seasons (1998 and 1999) in Arlington, becoming the first coach to guide UTA to post-season play. He also coached Harry Singh, UTA's first golfer to qualify for the NCAA Finals. Singh finished 20th out of 156 golfers at the 1998 NCAA Championships. In 1998-99, Hankins piloted UTA to a Southland Conference championship, only the second conference title in school history. In only two years at the helm of the Maverick program, he led the squad to eight tournament titles. Prior to Hankins' arrival, the men's golf team had won seven tournaments in over 30 years of competition.
Hankins also gained considerable recruiting and fund-raising skills while at Texas-Arlington. He successfully recruited the nation's 32nd-ranked junior by Titleist/Golfweek and a National Junior College Athletic Association individual medalist, and served as the director of the UTA annual golf tournament fund-raiser. The Tournament brought in $30,000 annually for the Maverick Scholarship Fund.
Hankins' first collegiate coaching experience came as an assistant coach for the Iowa State men's and women's golf programs in 1994-95. In 1995, he was promoted to co-head coach of the men's team, where he served as recruiting coordinator, academic services liaison, compliance coordinator liaison and team equipment and travel coordinator. He held that post through the spring of 1997, while continuing to assist the women's team with recruiting, golf camps, fund raising and technical golf teaching.
In his final coaching season at Iowa State, the Cyclones' men's golf team broke every existing team record, including scoring average, tournament wins and NCAA Regional finish.
A native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Hankins was a member of the Iowa State golf team from 1988-93. In 1993, he earned first-team Academic All-America honors while also being named first-team All-Big Eight Conference. He was also a three-time Academic All-Big Eight selection (1988, '91,'93) and his personal-best round of 66 still stands as the Cyclone record.
Hankins graduated from Iowa State in 1993 with a degree in psychology. In 1997, he completed a master's in business administration with an emphasis on sports administration and marketing at ISU.
In addition to collegiate competition, Hankins has played on the Nike Tour, Golden State Tour, Tommy Armour Tour and participated in PGA Tour Qualifying.
Outside of coaching on the college level, Hankins has served as a professional at numerous country clubs and camps, including Ames Golf and Country Club, Cyclone Country Golf Camp, Cyclone Golf Academy, Des Moines Golf and Country Club and Iowa PGA Golf Academy.
He is a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America and spent two years (2001-2003) as chairperson for the District IV NCAA regional selection committee. Hankins currently serves as the Central Region Director of the Golf Coaches Association of America.
MSU Under Head Coach Mark Hankins In six seasons under Hankins, State has: One Big Ten Championship - 2005
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