Aug 18, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State head men's golf coach Tim Norris announced tonight that he will retire from his current position at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. Norris, who has guided the K-State men's golf program for the past 16 years, made the emotional announcement at the program's annual Colbert-Fogler golf benefit.
"Our program has come a long way since I arrived in the fall of 1997, and I am proud of the progress we have made over the last 16 years," Norris said. "As a coach, you come to a point in your career and life when you know it is the right time to make such a decision, and this is the right time. The most important thing for me right now is to focus on the 2013-14 team and commit everything that I have to make it a season to remember. Thanks to so many people, K-State golf has made great strides, and it is ready to take the next step as a program. With the current administration, led by John Currie, I am as confident as ever before that even greater days are ahead."
At Sunday's event, Athletics Director John Currie talked of Norris' impact on the Wildcat program.
"Coach Norris is a K-Stater through and through," said Currie. "We appreciate his 16-plus years of service as he transformed K-State golf and built a program that has competed regularly on a national level. His focus on the development of young people on the course and in the classroom is unmatched and consistent with our goal of providing a world-class experience for our student-athletes."
One of the most respected individuals in the Big 12 Conference and the league's longest-tenured head golf coach, Norris inherited a program in 1997 that hadn't finished in the top half of its conference in 28 years. Following a transformation that included the opening of Colbert Hills Golf Course, the No. 1 public course in the state of Kansas, and a new clubhouse and training facility, Norris has guided the Wildcat program to 16 team tournament titles, four of the program's five all-time NCAA Regional appearances and 10 individual tournament championships.
"When I think of Coach I think of the word dedication," said senior Daniel Wood. "The impact that he has had both on this program and me personally goes beyond anything that I could have ever hoped for when I signed in high school. To say that he has left an indelible mark on me as a person, student and golfer would be a tremendous understatement."
Two Norris-coached players are currently on the PGA Tour as Robert Streb (2006-09) and Aaron Watkins (2001-04) have teed it up with the game's best golfers this past year. Streb also was one of four players under Norris who advanced to the NCAA Championship, competing as a freshman in 2006. K-State has also seen two golfers earn All-America distinction under Norris as Streb and A.J. Elgert were named PING All-Americans in 2009 and 2004, respectively.
"Coach Norris took a risk when he came to K-State and through hard work and determination he did a tremendous job building this program," Streb said. "He is a tireless recruiter who possesses a lot of knowledge about playing on tour which has helped all of us who have played for him become better golfers."
Watkins echoed Streb's sentiments about Norris' recruiting philosophy and remembers when he was being touted by the Wildcat head coach and program in high school.
"Coach Norris called me a `diamond in the rough' during the recruiting process," Watkins said. "He has a knack for seeing potential in players that others don't and that is what makes him so special. The position that Robert and I are in (on tour), Coach has lived it, and that is a tremendous benefit to every member of the K-State program."
While Norris' teams have consistently competed for postseason play, the academic success of the program is even more impressive. K-State has seen multiple players be named Academic All-Big 12 in each of the last nine seasons, while the team has earned three straight GCAA Academic team honors.
Norris was also pivotal in the development and enhancement of the program's all-around facilities. In 2000, Colbert Hills Golf Course was dedicated and remains one of the top collegiate courses in the country, while a new clubhouse, state-of-the-art driving range, indoor training facility and enough acreage for a nine-hole teaching course have also been added. "Tim has taken this program to new heights," said former Wildcat and PGA great Jim Colbert. "Three of his teams have missed nationals (NCAA) by just one stroke, and his leadership and vision have been great for Manhattan and K-State."
A nine-year PGA Tour professional, Norris won four tournament titles during his pro career after starring at his hometown school, Fresno State.
K-State returns eight players, including four seniors, from last year's squad which finished fifth at the Big 12 Championships.
"We are excited about the upcoming season under Coach Norris' leadership and know that he will continue to have a lasting impact on Wildcat golf," Currie added.
A national search to find Norris' replacement will begin in the spring, Currie said.