The 2011-2012 season is Kurt Schuette's 18th season at USC. He began his career at USC as the men's team head coach and was quickly promoted to Director of Golf to oversee the men's and women's teams. It is with great ambition and purpose that Schuette took the new position. From the beginning, his goal has been for Trojan Golf to be the program by which all others are measured. Each year both teams have steadily made progress towards this goal.
The USC women's squad tied for fifth at the 2011 NCAAs after winning four events on the season, including the 2011 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional titles. The squad featured three All-Americans in Lizette Salas, Sophia Popov and Lisa McCloskey. Popov, the Pac-10 individual winner, was the NGCA and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year while Salas was the Pac-10 Player of the Year. The men's squad won a pair of titles in 2011, including the Pac-10 Championship while All-Pac-10 first teamer Martin Trainer won the individual crown. USC advanced to the NCAA final for the sixth year in a row, but did not reach match play.
The 2010 season was another strong one for the Trojans. The women's team, led by All-Americans Jennifer Song and Salas, finished one stroke out of first at the NCAA Championships. The squad won four events on the season, including the NCAA Central Regional title. The men's squad reached the NCAA finals and were led by T.J. Vogel, who earned Freshman All-American honors, and Steve Lim, who earned All-Pac-10 honors.
In 2009, the men's and women's golf programs were among the top in the nation for the second year in a row. The women's squad finished third at the NCAA Championships after fighting for the title all tournament and Song, Salas and Belén Mozo all earned All-American honors. The men's squad featured three All-Americans in Matt Giles, Tom Glissmeyer and Tim Sluiter. The Trojans advanced past the NCAA Championships strokeplay stage into the eight-team match-play competition before falling in the quarterfinals.
The 2008 season was perhaps the finest combined men's and women's campaigns in school history. The women's team won its second NCAA title, its third consecutive NCAA Regional title, its first Pac-10 title in almost two decades and featured five All-Americans (Mozo, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Salas and Stefanie Endstrasser). Moreno also won the individual Pac-10 title while USC won its final four events of the season.
The men's squad came within three strokes of winning its first-ever NCAA title in 2008. As it was, USC finished third at the NCAA Championships (something USC hadn't done since 1975). USC won four tournaments on the season (all within its final seven events), including its first ever NCAA Regional championship. Troy also tied for first at the Pac-10 Championships (but fell in a playoff). Sophomores Jamie Lovemark and Rory Hie were tabbed as All-American first teamers while Glissmeyer, Sluiter and Giles all earned All-American honorable mention honors. It was the first time in school history USC featured five All-Americans. Lovemark and Hie also marked the first time USC had two All-American first teamers in one season.
In 2007, the Trojan men returned to the NCAA Championships final for the fourth time in the past five years, enjoying NCAA postseason action for the 18th year in a row. Lovemark, as a freshman, became USC's third NCAA Championship individual title winner and also led USC to its 18th Pac-10 Championship while winning the conference individual crown as well.
In 2006, Taylor Wood represented the Trojans at the 2006 NCAA Championships when he finished tied for 27th while competing individually.
In 2005, USC made it to the NCAA Championships for the third straight season. Its sixth-place finish that year was the Trojans' best since taking fifth in 1995.
In 2002, USC won its first back-to-back conference championship since 1972-73. It was yet another milestone in the re-establishment of USC as a national golf power.
The Trojans have been moving up from the moment Schuette came to USC in 1994-95. That year, Schuette directed the USC men's golf team well beyond expectations, all the way to a fifth-place finish at the 1995 NCAA Championships, and he earned District VIII Coach of the Year honors (Pac-10, Big West and WCC).
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.
Then in 1995-96, he led the Trojan men's team to its second consecutive Top 10 finish with a ninth-place showing at the NCAAs. And under his guidance, Brian Hull earned first-team All-American honors. Schuette was also honored by being selected to serve on the NCAA District VIII Advisory Committee.
In 1996-97, Schuette kept the Trojans ranked between No. 3 and No. 7 all year with three All-Americans in the lineup and eventually finished 14th at the NCAAs.
After graduating six players, his young men's teams didn't qualify for the NCAA Finals in 1997-98 or 1998-99 (Jorge Corral did qualify as an individual in '99), but they rebounded nicely in 1999-2000, finishing fourth at the NCAA West Regional to qualify for the NCAA Finals at Opelika, Ala. Although they missed the cut at that tourney, the Trojans showed the mettle once again to compete at the highest levels of collegiate golf.
In 2001 and 2002, Schuette led the Trojans to consecutive Pac-10 titles, while helping coach Hunter Mahan--the 2001 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year--and Kevin Stadler--the 2002 Pac-10 Golfer of the Year--to All-American honors.
Schuette was elevated to Director of Golf at USC in 1996. Under his direction and the hard work of outstanding women's coach Andrea Gaston, the USC women's golf program has also blossomed into one of the top programs in the country. USC has made 14 straight NCAA Championship final appearances, winning the team title in 2003 and 2008, finishing among the top five seven of the past nine years and among the top 10 in 11 of the past 14 years.
In 2007, junior Paola Moreno earned All-American first team honors while Mozo, as a freshman, was tabbed an All-American honorable mention pick.
In 2006, Schreefel, as a sophomore, became USC's third NCAA individual title winner and joined 2006 Women's Golf Honda Award winner Irene Cho as an All-American first team selection. Schreefel was also an All-American honorable mention pick in 2005.
In 2003, the Women of Troy had a magical season, winning the first-ever NCAA team golf title, senior Mikaela Parmlid won the NCAA individual title, while Cho was an honorable mention All-American selection.
In 2002, the Women of Troy placed 14th at the NCAAs and both Parmlid and Becky Lucidi were named to All-American teams. In back to back summers, Candie Kung won the U.S. Women's Pub Links and Lucidi won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. In 2000-01, the USC women finished seventh again as Kung made All-American for the second season.
In 2000, the Women of Troy finished fourth at the NCAAs and were led by All-American and Pac-10 Champion Kung, then a freshman.
In 1999, the Women of Troy won the NCAA West Regional, then finished seventh at the NCAA Finals. Sophomore Jennifer Rosales placed fourth and was named Collegiate Player of the Year.
The 1998 Women of Troy finished seventh at the NCAA Championships, but the highlight of the season was Rosales, then a freshman, winning USC's first-ever women's NCAA individual title in only her sixth collegiate tournament.
Schuette has laid a great foundation for Trojan Golf. However, he views it as just that -- a foundation. Schuette feels that the opportunities for Trojan Golf are limitless, and that both the men's and women's programs will continue to grow stronger every year.
In a recent annual ranking, Golf Digest ranked the USC women's golf team 3rd and the men's golf team 5th in their balanced ranking, which accounted for strength of both the academic program and the golf program. Furthermore, USC ranked No. 1 among private universities in the balanced category for men and No. 2 for women. The Trojans have created a standard of excellence both on the golf course and in the classroom.
"We are very serious about elevating both our programs to a championship level," Schuette said. "Our goal here is to succeed at whatever we do. We are striving to continue to win Pac-10 titles and our first men's team NCAA Championship. We are also proud to say we have recently had success with former players earning both PGA and LPGA Tour cards. All this is part of our mission to become the program by which all others are measured. Our philosophy is to develop smart, aggressive competitors who are confident, independent decision makers."
Schuette, 49, came to USC after six successful seasons (1988-94) at Pepperdine. During his tenure in Malibu, he led the Waves to four WCC crowns and was the 1993 WCC Coach of the Year and Pepperdine athletic department Coach of the Year. His teams were ranked as high as 16th in the nation and the 1993 team participated in the school's first-ever NCAA Golf Championship. Schuette recruited four of the five players on the Pepperdine team that won the 1997 NCAA championship.
In 1986 and 1988, Schuette served as an assistant coach for the Waves, while gaining experience in the private sector, working as an instructor at the Santa Barbara Golf Club and the North Ranch Country Club. In 1994, he was hired as USC head coach and he quickly built the program into not only the top team in Southern California, but a national contender.
One of the greatest benefits of USC is that the relationship with the players goes far beyond their years at USC. Schuette has graduated the lion's share (over 90%) of his athletes, including one Valedictorian at Pepperdine and he wants to see his players succeed at whatever career path they choose.
He is proud to have former players who have chosen to pursue successful careers as doctors, lawyers, authors, coaches, stock brokers, bankers, professional golfers and even an intelligence agent.
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. Schuette was an All-West Coast Conference selection in 1985 and graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in communications and marketing. Schuette lives in Mar Vista. He has one son, Kyle, who is 12.