Assistant Coach – Third Season
2012 Dave Williams Award
2012 Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year
2012 Eaton Golf Pride South Region Coach of the Year
The 2013-14 season is one for the ages in the history of the LSU Men’s Golf program as the Tigers returned to their rightful place among the nation’s elite with their run to the NCAA Final Four of match play at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
The Tigers proved themselves as national championship contenders in those five days at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, as they knocked off the No. 6-seeded UCLA Bruins in the national quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals to the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in their debut appearance in the eight-team match play tournament for the NCAA title.
With a trio of junior All-Americans in Stewart Jolly, Ben Taylor and Curtis Thompson; a senior stalwart in Smylie Kaufman and a sophomore standout in Zach Wright leading the way, the Tigers fired a team score of 4-under par 836 in 54 holes of medal play to tie for second place among the 30 teams in the NCAA field while earning the No. 3 seed in match play.
The Tigers wrapped up their 2013-14 season in a tie for third place nationally for the program’s best NCAA finish since claiming a third place in 1967 and first top-10 finish since earning eighth place in 1989 in the senior season of the great David Toms.
It marked LSU’s fourth trip to the NCAA Championship in five seasons as they have now earned a spot in the tournament a total of 35 times in the program’s storied history.
LSU’s postseason run was sparked by its first victory of 2013-14 at Texas A&M’s Aggie Invitational in the team’s regular-season finale in April. The Tigers followed by firing their school-record score of 18-under par 822 in a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships before tying for fourth place in the NCAA Columbia (Mo.) Regional to earn a return trip to the NCAA Championships.
Instrumental in LSU’s return to national prominence has been former LSU Tiger standout Garrett Runion, who enters his third season back with the program as a member of head coach Chuck Winstead’s staff after returning to his alma-mater prior to the 2012-13 season.
Winstead announced on June 22, 2012, that Runion would return to LSU as an assistant coach for the program after he guided the Sharks of Nova Southeastern University to the NCAA Division II national championship in his one and only season as head coach in 2011-12.
Runion’s first season back in Baton Rouge proved to be another strong campaign for the Tigers as they again qualified for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. LSU tied for 23rd place at the NCAA Championship held at Atlanta’s Capital City Club to highlight a season that also saw the squad claim team titles in back-to-back events at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate and David Toms Intercollegiate in the fall season of 2012.
The Tigers have also been rewarded for their outstanding performance on the course, led by Curtis Thompson’s breakthrough sophomore season in 2012-13 as an Honorable Mention All-American and First-Team All-SEC performer for the first time in his career. Junior Andrew Presley was also named a Second-Team All-SEC performer for the second-straight season.
Thompson earned a repeat selection as an Honorable Mention All-American and Second-Team All-SEC performer as a junior a year ago as three Tigers were recognized as All-Americans following the team’s historic 2013-14 campaign. Junior Stewart Jolly picked up Third-Team All-America honors along with a First-Team All-SEC selection, while junior Ben Taylor joined Thompson as an Honorable Mention All-American following the NCAA Championships.
Runion has returned to his alma mater following a 2011-12 season in which he led Nova Southeastern to the NCAA Division II title with a dominating 5-0 win over Chico State University in the national title match held May 19, 2012, at Cardinal Club Golf Course in Simpsonville, Kentucky.
Their run to the national championship highlighted a historic season for the Nova Southeastern Sharks as they also won the Sunshine State Conference championship during the 2012 spring season. Runion was recognized as the recipient of the Dave Williams Award as the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year, as well as earning Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year and Eaton Golf Pride South Region Coach of the Year awards for the 2011-12 season.
Runion actually served two seasons at Nova Southeastern as the team also captured the SCC title during a strong 2010-11 campaign in which he served as the program’s assistant head coach.
Runion displayed his recruiting prowess in his two seasons at Nova Southeastern as he was solely responsible in attracting the elite players in the NCAA Division II ranks to the Fort Lauderdale campus.
That included the No. 1 player in the NCAA Division II ranks in Jack Nicklaus Award winner Ben Taylor as the Golf Coaches’ Association of America NCAA Division I Collegiate Player of the Year in 2012. Taylor has since followed Runion to LSU as the England international competes as a senior with the Tigers during the 2014-15 season.
Nova Southeastern also featured the top freshman in NCAA Division II as Oscar Lengden earned the 2012 Phil Mickelson Award recognizing the nation’s Most Outstanding Freshman.
A native of Orlando, Florida, Runion was a two-year letterwinner during his collegiate career with the Tigers as he called Baton Rouge home in four seasons from 2003-08. A four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and three-time SEC Community Service Team selection, Runion graduated from LSU in the May 2008 with his Bachelor of Arts & Science degree in general studies.