One of the longest-tenured head coaches in NCAA Division I men’s golf is retiring.
Larry Penley, who is entering this 38th season as Clemson’s head coach, announced Thursday that this season will be his last, ending a career that began in 1983 and included winning the 2003 NCAA Championship.
“I can’t thank Clemson University enough for allowing me to live a dream,” Penley said. “Being part of the Clemson Golf program as a player, assistant coach and head coach since 1977 has been special to say the least. Thanks also to all of our past student-athletes and their families. It has been an honor to serve as their coach. I am proud of the way they have represented Clemson in competition and off the course when they were student-athletes and in their careers. Thanks to all the administrators, in the athletic department and across campus, who have worked so hard to make this an elite program. We’ve had an amazing journey together.
“I’ve thought a lot about retirement over the past few years and believe the time is right. I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last four decades, but we have unfinished work ahead this spring. I can’t wait to see what this team can accomplish. We have a chance to be very special.”
Penley was an All-ACC player at Clemson in 1977-81 before taking over as head coach of the Tigers just two years after graduation. His 79 career wins rank second all-time among ACC coaches behind only Wake Forest’s Jesse Haddock (83) and include nine ACC titles, a DI-record seven NCAA regional wins and the 2003 NCAA Championship. Penley’s Clemson teams have never missed a regional and have qualified for 29 NCAA Championships.
Penley has coached 31 All-Americans, including Ben Hogan Award winners D.J. Trahan and Kyle Stanley, 1997 NCAA individual champion Charles Warren, and U.S. Amateur winners Doc Redman and Chris Patton. Six of Penley’s former players currently have status on the PGA Tour, including Redman, Stanley and 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover. Penley was inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame in 2004.
This year's Clemson team, which didn't compete in the fall, enters the spring ranked 20th overall (fourth in the ACC) in GolfChannel.com's power rankings.