Trojan Golf's Kurt Schuette Departs From USC|
July 24, 2015
Kurt Schuette, a USC golf mainstay for the last two decades who began his Trojan career as the men’s head coach before a long and successful tenure as the Director of Golf for Troy’s men’s and women’s programs, is leaving the school to pursue new opportunities following a restructuring within the department.
“I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been employed by USC for 20-plus years,” Schuette said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed both the challenges and the accomplishments we have collectively achieved over that time for USC. I hope to develop career options to further benefit the game of golf and to promote Southern California, and the West Coast, as one of our country’s finest golf and recreational destinations. I believe that my experiences and the talented people that I have worked with in 30 years in golf and education will be a tremendous asset to my future career ambitions.”
Schuette was named USC men’s golf’s head coach in 1994, a position he held through the 2005-06 season. He became Director of Golf in 1996 after his second season to complement his role as men’s head coach. Following the 2006 season, he remained on staff as a coach to the men’s and women’s teams before he transitioned to Director of Golf Development and Facilities in 2012.
Among Schuette’s integral moves as Director of Golf was bringing Andrea Gaston to USC as the women’s golf head coach in 1996 and hiring Chris Zambri as men’s coach in 2006. Gaston has turned the women’s program into a juggernaut in her 19 seasons as head coach, winning NCAA titles in 2003, 2008 and 2013 while producing 13 Top 5 performances (including 10 in a row). The men’s team under Zambri has reached nine consecutive NCAA finals, finishing third in 2008 and a program-best second at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Schuette was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and the GCAA Regional Coach of the Year in 1995 after USC finished fifth at the NCAAs, its best finish in 20 years. Current PGA veteran Kevin Stadler was named the 2002 Pac-10 Golfer of the Year under Schuette and was among 12 All-American Trojan golfers during his time as head coach. Chad Wright (1995, 1997), Brian Hull (1996-97) and Taylor Wood (2005-06) were two-time All-Americans while Hunter Mahan (2001) and Ben Hayes (2002) both were tabbed Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year.
The men’s team produced 27 All-Americans and 19 All-Pac-12 first team selections since Schuette came to USC as well as four Pac-12 titles, including back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002. Troy produced three Pac-12 Golfers of the Year during that time, including Jamie Lovemark, who won the 2007 NCAA individual title.
“Kurt has been the heart and soul of our program for 20 years,” Zambri said. “Nobody has worked harder to make us a successful program. Kurt cared tremendously about how we performed on the golf course, but he cared more for the welfare of the kids in the program than anything else. I have learned a million things from Kurt. He will be missed.”
The women’s team since Schuette arrived has won three NCAA championships, five NCAA individual titles, three Pac-12 titles, five individual conference titles and produced 44 All-American and 28 All-Pac-12 first team honors.
“I am extremely thankful to Kurt for believing in me and giving me the opportunity back in 1996 to coach the USC women’s golf team,” Gaston said. “We have shared a rare partnership for the past 19 years and have been fortunate to see a vision become a reality where our women’s golf program has developed into a national powerhouse.
“Kurt’s loyalty, encouragement, and support have meant the world to me. The strong foundation that he envisioned since he was hired has enabled us to recruit the best student-athletes in the U.S. and around the world, and to provide all the resources we need to help our young women succeed both on the course and in the classroom. I appreciate all that Kurt has done and the lasting impact he has made on our program. I wish him all the best as he moves forward into another chapter of his life.”
Schuette played an instrumental role in securing USC as host of the 2012 NCAA Championships, where he served as the Championship Tournament Director. It was the first amateur event ever held at The Riviera Country Club, located in Pacific Palisades.
Schuette has worked tirelessly as a fundraiser during his 21 years at Troy. All scholarship and operating endowment funds for the men’s and women’s golf programs were raised during Schuette’s tenure in conjunction with Don Winston and USC’s Athletic Development staff. He formed the Coaches Council in 2003 to enhance USC’s practice and playing facilities and orchestrated the on-campus night lighted Burell C. Johnson Short Game Area. The Coaches Council currently generates substantial sums annually to augment all aspects of the golf programs.
“I have had the good fortune to be surrounded by many great leaders as coaches, staff, and administrators while being employed at USC,” Schuette said. “I hope to utilize these invaluable experiences and relationships to help me excel in my future endeavors where I aspire to impact the game of golf and charitable causes on a broader scale. I hope that the loyal following of USC Golf supporters we have developed will continue to grow in support of Coach Gaston and Coach Zambri’s student athletes. I trust that my time at USC has helped to fortify the foundation for USC Golf to have even more success in the future.” Said USC All-American and 2006 NCAA individual champion Dewi Claire Schreefel: “Kurt allowed the players and coaches to focus on golf while he ensured our great opportunities to travel, practice and realize our dreams. He is one of college golf’s leading fundraisers, a vastly unappreciated part of collegiate sport success."
Said Stadler: “Coach Schuette did fantastic work furthering USC's quest for national championships. The efforts he put forth to better the team's practice facilities undoubtedly will continue to pay dividends. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”