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SOU hires Horstman to lead golf teams

ASHLAND — Local product and nationally-lauded instructor Noah Horstman has been selected to build the Southern Oregon University men’s and women’s golf teams as the programs’ first head coach, SOU Director of Athletics Matt Sayre announced Friday.

A graduate of South Medford High and Pacific University, Horstman is the owner, founder, and director of coaching and player development at the West Coast Golf Academy. In December he received the Pacific Northwest PGA Youth Player Development Award, and among other honors has been named a Top 50 US Kids Coach and a Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional by the Golf Range Association of America.

This will be his second collegiate head coaching job: from 2009-13 he guided the men’s and women’s programs at Willamette University, taking them from last place in the conference and turning them into top-25 teams at the NCAA Division III level within two years.

“Noah is a known entity in the valley and the sport of golf. His ability to make an immediate impact on assembling a competitive team can’t be understated,” Sayre said. “His energy, experience and wealth of knowledge will be a boon to SOU athletics and our goal of fielding championship men’s and women’s golf teams.”

SOU announced in December the addition of golf along with beach volleyball, cycling, and competitive cheer and dance to the athletic department. Each program will launch in 2022-23. SOU will be the ninth team in the Cascade Conference men’s golf circuit and the eighth team on the women’s side.

“I’m really excited. It’s been a dream to come back home and start a golf program at SOU,” Horstman said. “I’m looking forward to building relationships and getting to know the university’s culture and all the great coaches that are already here. The plan is to bring in a talented first-year class of student-athletes and just keep building so we’re able to vie for a spot atop the national ranks for years to come.”

Horstman returned to his hometown in 2019. For the previous six years he was the director of instruction and player development at Beechmont Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio, and during his time there was a four-time Golf Digest Best Teacher in the State and a two-time Northern Ohio Section PGA Teacher of the Year.

An All-Northwest Conference performer at Pacific, Horstman holds Class ‘A’ PGA membership and was a 2015 PGA National Teacher of the Year nominee. He served as the head coach at Ohio’s Gilmour Academy in 2015-16 and led his team to the high school state playoffs in his second season.

“My vision for the program is to have a family culture and help every student-athlete accomplish their goals, whether they’re looking to earn a degree while keeping golf in their lives or they have aspirations to play on a professional tour,” he said. “I probably would’ve stayed in the area had there been a golf program at SOU when I graduated high school, so this is going to open up a lot of opportunities for people who love the game.”