Men’s golf coach Jon Mills began every season just like his previous three seasons with Kent State. Except for in the 2019-2020 season, he began his new position as the head coach, transitioning from the assistant coaching role after coach Herb Page retired.
In fall 2019, the first half of the Flashes’ season, Mills led Kent State to four top 10 finishes. In years past, Kent State has had more international golfers, but this season only one Flash is from a different country: sophomore Julien Paltrinieri from Milan, Italy.
“I transitioned just before the season started in the fall … it’s a little getting used to. But I felt like I transitioned quite well based on just spending the time with Herb for the last four years,” Mills said.
Mills played for Kent State’s golf team from 1998-2002. While he was a member of the Flashes, he won Mid American Conference Freshman of the year and had the second highest finish in the NCAA Championships in school history. In 2001, Mills finished in sixth place in the big tournament.
He went on to have a professional career in golf and qualified for three US Opens. With his four years as a Kent State golfer and four years as an assistant coach, Mills spent a lot of time learning from legendary golf coach Page.
“Obviously with Herb coaching for so long you learn a lot and and knowing him and playing for him back in the late nineties, early two thousands, and then staying in touch with him all the way through and then obviously coaching with him … you learn a lot of the kind of hidden things that you don’t really think about as a player,” Mills said.
Mills helped page in the 2018-2019 season with this year’s recruiting class. He was familiar with the incoming freshmen and the returners as well. Mills said it “made it very easy to transition into that.”
He will still help with the recruiting class for other seasons alongside his new assistant coach, Ryan Yip.
Going into the spring, Kent State will work on finishing out the tournament, Mills said. The team struggled to put together consistent play throughout their five tournaments in the fall. It’s something a young team can learn from, Mills said.
“It seemed like every event we played, we got into a good position going in … we struggled. Having a young team you want to get in that position a lot, so you learn from it. And I felt like at this point they’ve been in that position a lot, so they hopefully can learn from that. As long as we keep playing the way we did and getting ourselves into those positions, and based on the strength of our schedule, we should be in a great position,” he said.
Kent State is ranked No. 59 in the country for men’s college golf according to Golfstat. The Flashes will kick off their spring season on Saturday Feb. 22 at the Seminole Intercollegiate.
Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at [email protected]