1996-97 USC Men's Golf Overview
Talk about an impressive first impression. USC director of golf Kurt Schuette couldn't have scripted it much better.
In 1994-95, his first season at Troy, Schuette directed his Trojans well beyond expectations . . . all the way to a fifth-place finish at the 1995 NCAA Championships.
It was USC's highest national finish in 20 years and the eight strokes that separated USC from the championship matched the closest Troy has ever been to the national title. Not bad for a newcomer.
"That team probably had the most improvement in a college golf team that I've seen in the eight years that I have been coaching," Schuette said. "I thought we had a pretty mediocre team at the beginning of the season and we played like that for most of the year. But after emphasizing course management, strategy and decision making during competition for much of the season, it had a definite impact on their scoring ability both individually and as a team by the time we got to the post-season."
Last year, Schuette kept things rolling right along, leading the Trojans to a ninth-place finish at the 1996 NCAA Championships. And under his guidance, Brian Hull earned first-team All-American honors, becoming the first Trojan to do so since Sam Randolph in 1986. Schuette was also honored by being selected to serve on the NCAA District VIII Advisory Committee.
This year, he has the Trojans eyeing a run towards USC's first-ever golf national championship. With all five of last year's top players returning and the addition of two talented freshmen, there is no shortage of high hopes at Troy.
"With that kind of quality depth, we should be tough to beat," Schuette said.
Schuette, 34, came to USC after six successful seasons (1988-94) at Pepperdine. During his tenure in Malibu, he led the Waves to the West Coast Conference crown in 1989-90-92-94. He was the 1993 WCC Coach of the Year and Pepperdine athletic department Coach of the Year. Schuette's 1993 and 1994 teams were ranked as high as 19th and 16th in the nation, respectively, with the '93 team participating in the school's first-ever NCAA Golf Championship. Schuette's 1992 and 1994 teams advanced to the NCAA regionals.
Schuette's focus on the mental aspects of golf helped Wave player Todd Andrews compete in the 1992, 1993 and 1994 NCAA tourneys, while Kevin Marsh was Pepperdine's first-ever All-American when he won third-team honors in 1994.
Schuette's players were successful in the classroom as well as the course. His teams posted a 100 percent graduation rate, while Lars Herne was an Academic All-American in 1993 as well as Pepperdine's valedictorian.
In 1986 and 1988, Schuette served as an assistant coach for the Waves, while gaining experience in the private sector, working at both the Santa Barbara Golf Club and the North Ranch Country Club. In 1988, he was hired as head coach, and quickly built the program into not only the top team in Southern California but a national contender.
Schuette, who never played golf until his senior year at San Marcos High in Santa Barbara (Calif.), was a standout performer in football, basketball and baseball. However, after suffering a knee injury, he decided to play golf and never looked back.
"I never thought golf was for me as a young kid," Schuette said. "But once I started playing after my injury, I realized what a mentally challenging game golf really is."
Schuette attended Santa Barbara City College, where he rapidly progressed, earning All-Western State Conference honors. He earned a scholarship to Pepperdine, serving as captain in 1984 and 1985, graduating in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in communications and marketing.
Fundraising and alumni relations are also among Schuette's strong points. He cherishes the opportunity to work with a strong Trojan alumni base which includes golf greats Al "Mr. 59" Geiberger, Dave Stockton, Craig Stadler and Scott Simpson, among others.
"The USC tradition is well-known throughout the golf world as one of the strongest in the country," Schuette said. "And I'm fortunate to be working with a tremendous group of people who are all working towards the goal of returning USC to the forefront of collegiate golf."
As USC's director of golf, Schuette also oversees the Women of Troy golf program.
"We are also very serious about lifting our women's program to Top 10 status," Schuette said. "Our goal here is to succeed at whatever we do."
On July 27, 1996, Schuette and his wife Glenna got married in Santa Barbara. The newlyweds and their dog Sunny reside in Mar Vista, Calif.