Retirement Reception Set for Watney

May 30, 2013

By Elly Walker

FRESNO, CA -- In his 35 years at Fresno State, men's golf head coach Mike Watney has established a level of excellence and tradition. The golf legend propelled Bulldog golf into a nationally prominent and highly competitive program.

Fresno State Athletics along with the Fresno State community will honor Watney on Saturday, June 1 to celebrate Watney's 35-year commitment to Fresno State Athletics and the new journey he begins in retirement.

The reception will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Sunnyside Country Club in Fresno, Calif.

As a 1973 graduate of Fresno State, Watney became the head coach of his alma mater in 1979. In his first season coaching the Bulldogs, he led his team to a conference championship and a 12th place finish at the NCAA Championship, which laid the foundation for future Bulldog golf success.

Under his direction Watney has tutored 29 All-Americans and 19 All-American Scholars. Watney's squads have captured 12 conference championships and 33 NCAA appearances. Under his direction, the Bulldogs have appeared in 25 NCAA Tournaments, placing in the top-10 three times, with a fifth place finish- the best in Fresno State golf history- in 1990.

In addition to Watney's record on the golf course, his contributions to the game, his student-athletes and the school have not gone unnoticed.

As a member of the Professional Golf Association for 18 years, Watney was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America's Hall of Fame in 2007. He was chosen as the 2007 inductee into the GCAA Hall of Fame. He was named the Southwest Region Coach of the Year in 2002. In 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2010, he was honored as Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. He earned Big West Coach of the Year honors six times in the 1980s and was named NCAA District VIII Coach of the Year for the first time in 1987, and then again in 1994. Most recently, he was recently honored as the recipient of The First Tee Lifetime Achievement Award in February of 2013.

In his career, Watney has coached many outstanding players including notable PGA golfers Nick Watney (his nephew), Kevin and David Sutherland, Joe Acosta, Todd Rose, Tim Norris and Dennis Trixler.

Watney has also coached golf pros in the local area including Ed Luethke, Jonathon Echols, Ken Collins, Eric Peterson, Mike Schy, Todd Hansen, Paul Wightman, Eric Costa, Mark Sherman and Matt Bunn.

The golf legend will always be honored and recognized for his great contributions to the game of golf as well as his dedication and commitment to the Fresno State golf program.