ECU making its fourth trip to the NCAAs in the last six years
ECU will compete at the regional tournament in Noblesville, Ind. beginning May 14
Former prep golfer had signed with ECU prior to unexpected passing
Men's golf head coach Press McPhaul and senior Harold Varner talk about qualifying for the NCAA Championship.
Under McPhaul's direction, the Pirates received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships in three of the previous five seasons. Prior to his arrival, ECU had made just one NCAA appearance.
After a two-year absence, ECU return to the NCAA Championship tournament in 2015 receiving an at-large to the Noblesville (Ind.) Regional led by a junior-laden lineup. Wes Conover was named to The American all-conference team, posting six top-10 finishes. The Pirates finished the year ranked 62nd by Golfstat.com after recording five top-3 finishes in 12 events.
McPhaul led the Pirates to their ninth tournament win during his tenure, shooting 15-under-par at the 2014 Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke Golf Club.
The Pirates claimed their eighth tournament title under McPhaul at the 2014 River Landing Intercollegiate with Conference USA Newcomer-of-the-Year Wes Conover capturing medalist honors. It was one of five top-5 tournament finishes for ECU during the 2013-14 campaign. McPhaul also helped senior Eric Brady become just third ECU golfer to receive an individual invitation to the NCAA Championships. In total, ECU golfers registered nine top-10 individual finishes with a pair of victories.
Despite having a depleted roster in 2013, McPhaul watched his young team mature and develop over the course of the season. The Pirates recorded a pair of runner-up finishes against arguably the toughest field of opponents in school history.
ECU received its second-straight at-large bid to the NCAA Division I Men' Golf Championships in 2012 and placed second at the Athens Regional to earn a trip to the program's first trip to the finals. The Pirates were seeded sixth, but finished ahead of three top-25 teams to advance.
The Pirates recorded five top-5 finishes during the 2011-12 campaign, which included the team title at the Seahawk Intercollegiate. ECU finished the year ranked No. 34 by Golfstat and in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, while Harold Varner became the first ECU player to be named Conference USA Golfer-of-the-Year. Varner developed into perhaps the finest golfer to walk the links at ECU with McPhaul's instruction. He made his PGA Tour debut in 2013 at the U.S. Open.
A year earlier, McPhaul guided the Pirates to their first NCAA Championship appearance since 1993 and just their second in school history. ECU finished ninth at the Virginia Tech Regional, after being one of the final teams left out of the tournament field in 2010. The Pirates finished 40th in the final Golfweek/Sagarin ratings in 2011.
Varner and David Watkins were each selected first-team all-conference during the 2010-11 campaign with McPhaul's instruction. Watkins became McPhaul's initial All-Conference USA First-Team player, while Varner became the first ECU golfer since 1993 to participate in the NCAA Championships at the Yale Regional. They are the only two-time first-team all-conference players in school history.
During his first seven seasons at East Carolina, McPhaul has coached four first-team All-Conference USA performers, four second-team selections as well as a trio of all-freshman team players. He also tutored Markus Leandersson, who became the first ECU golfer to Academic All-America honors in 2009.
The Pirates have won seven tournament titles over the past seven seasons with eight players capturing individual medalist honors.
Under his tutelage, the Pirates recorded their best team tournament score in school history in 2011 firing an 827 at the Outer Banks Intercollegiate. Eight of the 10 lowest 54-hole team scores have come on McPhaul's watch.
He also helped half-a-dozen Pirates qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship during his tenure. McPhaul arrived at ECU in the summer of 2006 after he was named to the position in January. McPhaul officially assumed his duties at ECU following the completion of the 2006 spring season in which he completed his fifth season as head coach at Vanderbilt.
In five years as Vanderbilt's head coach, McPhaul led the Commodores to three consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament team births and a pair of NCAA Championship Tournament showings. In addition, the Commodores won four regular season tournaments during the McPhaul era and were ranked among the nation's best teams.
Regarded as an outstanding fundraiser, McPhaul helped Vanderbilt continue to add to its outstanding facilities by overseeing the installation of the two-acre Varsity Practice Facility at its own Vanderbilt Legends Club Course in August 2004.
McPhaul coached four All-America and four Academic All-America selections at Vanderbilt, including Luke List who has participated in both the U.S. Open and Master's.
He also oversaw the transformation of Brandt Snedeker who was named SEC's Golfer-of-the-Year in 2002 and has earned two PGA two victories since 2007.
A native of Sanford, N.C., McPhaul played at North Carolina State from 1991-96. He was a member of the Wolfpack's NCAA Tournament teams that finished eighth in 1995 and won the 1996 East Regional. The 1996 co-captain also participated in three NCAA tournaments (1993, 1995, 1996). He served as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1998-00 while also coaching the Wolfpack women's team.
McPhaul is married to the former Lynn May of Farmville, N.C., and the couple has three daughters, Anna (11), Emma (9) and Sarah Kate (5).
|THE PRESS McPHAUL FILE
|College||N.C. State University, 1996 (B.A.)
children: Anna, Emma, Sarah Kate
|COLLEGIATE PLAYING EXPERIENCE
|College||N.C. State University, 1991-96|
|1998-2000||N.C. State University, assistant men's coach|
|1999-2000||N.C. State University, assistant women's coach|
|2000-06||Vanderbilt University, head coach|
|2006-present||East Carolina University, head coach|