UND has hired one of its own Hall of Famers to be the next head men's golf coach.
Grand Forks native Todd Schaefer, who starred at UND in the 1980s, was named the program's new head coach Wednesday morning. Schaefer will take over for Matt Stricker, who left to take a golf instructor post at Sanford Power Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D.
"For me, it's exciting to be a part of the University of North Dakota and to coach a program that's dear to my heart and one I've really enjoyed be part of," Schaefer said. "I know it's had its ups and downs and has gone through a few coaches in the last few years and needs some stability. I'm really excited to work toward that. I love promoting and I've done a lot of that. I'm drawn to help kids have the same experience that I did."
Schaefer will try to provide stability for a program that has been near death a few times.
The men's golf program, which UND once announced was being cut, has been saved for now and is guaranteed through at least the next two seasons.
When it was first announced that the program was being eliminated in 2016, Schaefer was part of an alumni group that successfully worked to revive and save it.
Now, he will work on building it.
"I can only control what's on my plate," said Schaefer, whose brother, Gregg, and son, Nick, also played golf at UND. "I want to put together as competitive of a program as I can with great student-athletes who are involved in the community. I'm going to give my best to do that. Hopefully, at the end of the day, the program will continue."
As a UND athlete, Schaefer a part of three North Central Conference championship-winning teams in the early 1980s. He earned medalist honors as a senior. Schaefer played in three NCAA Division II national tournaments, earning honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore and second-team All-American honors as a senior.
His success continued long after graduation, winning four Grand Forks all-city titles, two North Dakota Amateur Open titles, 10 State Best Ball Championships and back-to-back Birchmont championships in Bemidji in 2007 and 2008.
"Todd's playing ability and allegiance to the University of North Dakota, the athletics department and this program shined through in the hiring process," said associate athletic director Erik Martinson, who led the search process. "He showed that he was the right fit for this position and we are excited to have him back on campus as our next head men's golf coach."