Women’s golf coach Morrow to retire after 15 years

Mike Morrow

Mike Morrow

Kevin Battaglia

The numbers tell the story of the amount of success Mike Morrow experienced during his tenure as the head coach of the Kent State women’s golf team.

After 15 years of dominance and garnering national attention for Kent State, Morrow announced his retirement as head coach Thursday.

“Given my options, I think [retiring] was in the best interest of the university, the team and myself,” Morrow said.

Since taking over as the program’s first head coach in 1997, Morrow’s success has been nothing short of excellent.

Under Morrow, the Flashes won the Mid-American Conference championship in all 14 years of the program’s existence. He produced 13 MAC Players of the Year, 39 All-MAC First Team selections, nine Freshmen of the Year and 59 All-MAC honorees, according to the Kent State athletics website. Morrow said Kent State has set the bar for mid-major schools and everyone in women’s golf knows it.

“Our record speaks for itself, we win the MAC every year,” he said. “There’s not even a program close to what we stood for.”

In addition to the success of his teams, Morrow said he proud of the character of his golfers.

“I’m more proud of the fact that the quality of the people determined not just our good record, because our record was really, really good, but that these kids are better people than they are golfers,” he said.

Morrow also earned a variety of Coach of the Year awards. During his career, he had been awarded MAC Coach of the Year 10 times, Central Region Coach of the Year twice and was honored as Golfweek National Coach of the Year in 2001.

“These awards are all team awards,” Morrow said. “I got the awards, but it was really the performance of the players that allowed me to get these awards, I didn’t win them.”

In July 2008, Morrow added an international accomplishment to his career resume when he led the United States to a 37-23 victory over Japan at the Fuji Xerox USA vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship in Tokyo, Japan.

He believes the future is bright for Kent State women’s golf. The success of the program and the reputation his players built has resulted in a lot of respect from other coaches at major universities.

“Our schedule is exceptional, and that was from our players playing so well and giving us the opportunity to get in better tournaments,” he said. “Then it also comes from other coaches in the country showing the respect for our program to invite mid-majors [schools] to their conference tournaments.”

Before he began his coaching career, Morrow was golfer at Kent State.

After winning an Ohio individual State Championship in high school, he was offered a scholarship to Kent State. He became the first All-American in Flashes’ history in 1973 and earned All-MAC honors for three straight years between 1973 and 1975. After Kent State, he became a professional golfer in Cincinnati, winning 26 PGA selection tournament victories before Kent State called him for a job.

Morrow said that coming back to serve his alma mater was important to him and his family.

“I came back to my first job at Kent State being golf professional and manager for the university golf course,” Morrow said. “I gave up a little bit to come back home for family and because the university needed me.”

Morrow will also be retiring as general manager of the Kent State University Golf Course, a position he has held for 22 years.

With all the accolades and accomplishments Morrow had earned as both a coach and former player, he said the thing he will miss most is the relationships with players and the people at Kent State.

“You become their extended family,” Morrow said. “You end up getting a special relationship as their coach, as their friend, and hopefully you end up giving them some life lessons along the way.”

Morrow said he’s still trying to figure out how he is going to spend his retirement. He said the reports that he is retiring to spend more time with his family could not be more inaccurate because his family has always been involved with his career.

“It’s been said that I’ve been away a lot from my family, and my family does not feel that way,” he said. “We spend a lot of time together. The family time has never been an issue and is not an issue right now.”

Despite retiring, Morrow said he would not rule out coaching again.

“Never say never about coaching,” he said. “I don’t know how much I’m going to miss because I love every single part of coaching. If an opportunity presents itself, and I feel I’ve missed it and want to do it, I would definitely listen to offers.”

Kent State will start the 2013 season without Morrow Feb. 10-12 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Contact Kevin Battaglia at [email protected].