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Junior standout earns exemption into Colonial's PGA Tour event
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One of the most decorated coaches in the history of TCU Athletics, Bill Montigel has served 28 seasons as head men's golf coach and 37 overall as a member of the Horned Frogs family. Since becoming the face of TCU golf, he has provided the blueprint for building one of the nation's top collegiate programs.
Montigel's tenure has been marked by consistency, highlighted by the program's current 26-year streak of NCAA Regional participation. The Frogs are one of only three NCAA Division I teams to earn a regional bid each of the last 26 years under the same head coach along with Clemson and UNLV. Only 15 programs have amassed the same streak with numerous head coaches.
TCU golf's current postseason run is unparalleled in the history of Horned Frogs Athletics. The streak is by far the longest all-time for any of the school's teams and seven years more than their counterparts from the TCU women's golf team, which owned the No. 2 spot with 18 straight regional bids.
TCU has not limited its goals simply to reaching the postseason under Montigel's watch. The program has collected eight conference championships in the past 18 years, in addition to appearing in the NCAA Championships 14 times since 1991 (16 times since 1990 when including individual bids). The 1997 squad, led by former All-American and current PGA Tour pro J.J. Henry, tied for seventh place for the Frogs' best-ever national finish. That success was nearly duplicated in 2009, as a third-place individual effort by Tom Hoge helped boost the squad to ninth place.
Montigel's 2013 TCU squad was as talented as any of his previous groups. Each of the five golfers in the regular lineup finished the season ranked among the nation's top-115 individuals according to Golfweek. The squad climbed as high as No. 6 in the college golf rankings before finishing the year at No. 7.
Several individuals have flourished under Montigel's watchful eye, most notably current standout Julien Brun, who owns a school-record six First-Team All-America selections and also holds program marks in tournament titles (nine) and stroke average (70.44). Overall, Montigel has now coached 12 different players to 22 All-America honors on the links.
Brun posted the top season ever for a TCU golfer as a freshman in 2011-12, shattering nearly every individual Frogs season record, including stroke average (70.51), average score versus par (-1.03), individual victories (three), top-5 finishes (eight), top-10 results (nine), finish percentage (91.3 percent) and rounds at or below par (27; tied Adam Rubinson, 2002-03).
Brun's freshman season saw him collect three victories--more than any previous Frog had earned in an entire career--while becoming only the third first-team All-American in program history. He capped his remarkable campaign by claiming reserve medalist honors at the NCAA Championship. He is the third Frog to place second at the national championship under Montigel's watch, joining Henry (1998) and Adam Rubinson (2003). Tom Hoge claimed third-place honors in 2009, while Charlie Stevens tied for 10th in 1992.
Brun continued his success into 2012-13. He produced three more individual titles and again broke the program's stroke average record (70.31). He became TCU's first finalist for the prestigious Ben Hogan Award after being a semifinalist as a freshman and finished the year as the first two-time first-team All-American in program history.
Brun finished his junior season in 2013-14 on a tear, claiming three more titles over the final eight tournaments, including the Big 12 Tournament individual title and the NCAA San Antonio Regional crown. Brun earned his first conference title by winning by nine strokes, marking the third-largest margin of victory in league history, while setting a 72-hole Whispering Pines Course record with an 11-under 277.
Prior to Brun's TCU arrival, Henry was the undisputed top golfer in the history of the program. He cemented his TCU legacy in 1998 by becoming the school's first three-time All-American and capping an illustrious career by being named Golfweek/Taylor Made Co-College Player of the Year.
In addition to the national success, TCU's exploits have extended to the conference level, with five players having earned league golfer of the year honors. During one stretch in the early 2000's, Frogs were named Conference USA Golfer of the Year three straight seasons (J.J. Killeen, Adam Meyer and Rubinson). Brun was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2012, joining Colby Beckstrom (2003 C-USA) and Killeen (2002 C-USA) as Frogs to be named a top league freshman.
TCU has made a habit of sending golfers on to professional careers with Montigel at the helm. Henry has made the biggest splash, having been a fixture on the PGA Tour for the last decade. The 2006 season saw Henry finish No. 29 on the Tour's money list, take home the Buick Championship and compete for the United States during both the Ryder Cup and World Cup. Another former pupil, J.J. Killeen earned his Tour card for the first time in 2011 after winning two Nationwide Tour events and finishing the season atop the Tour's money list.
Hoge became TCU's newest addition to the professional ranks in 2011, earning an exemption to his first PGA Tour event, the RBC Canadian Open, with a win at the Players Cup in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He made history by becoming the first golfer since the Canadian Tour's inception in 1981 to win a tournament after advancing through the event's qualifying stage. The victory earned Hoge a two-year exemption on the Canadian Tour and currently competes on the Web.com Tour.
Other former Montigel pupils who have gone on to experience success on both the Web.com and Gateway Tours include Rubinson, Hoge, Colby Beckstrom, Franklin Corpening, Bret Guetz, Drew Laning, Adam Meyer, James Sacheck, David Shultz, Sal Spallone and Drew Stoltz.
Montigel's rise in the collegiate golf ranks has been well-chronicled from a coach who started out with limited exposure to his particular collegiate sport to becoming one of the nation's most successful coaches. While his approach has proven solid, it was his arrival upon the collegiate golf scene that perhaps raised eyebrows.
Prior to the 1987 campaign, Montigel served eight seasons as an assistant basketball coach and top recruiter at TCU under legendary coach Jim Killingsworth. Several of Montigel's recruiting gems were key performers on the Frogs' back-to-back Southwest Conference championship squads in 1986 and 1987.
One of Montigel's prized recruits was an undersized guard from Hollywood, Calif., named Jamie Dixon, who went on to help lead the Frogs to their back-to-back SWC titles before becoming one of the top minds in all of college basketball as the current head coach at Pittsburgh.
When Killingsworth retired at the end of 1987 season, Montigel's career took a dramatically-altered path. The TCU administration had to look no further than the men's basketball office to find its next men's golf coach. As a graduate student at Oklahoma State, it was his friendship with legendary Cowboys' golf coach and current OSU Athletics Director Mike Holder that truly kindled his interest in golf. Knowing that he could recruit, organize and motivate, Montigel added some of the valuable lessons he learned in basketball and applied them towards building and maintaining a top-ranked golf program.
It took Montigel just three seasons to turn a mediocre program into a contender at the conference, regional and national levels. In his first 14 campaigns, TCU captured nine tournaments, an impressive feat considering the lofty competition. The Frogs have taken another step forward in the new millennium, capturing 19 team titles in the last 11 seasons. The squad has added 20 individual tournament titles since 2000, compared to only 16 in the previous 20 years combined.
Montigel's ability to develop talent and his teams' ability to perform have certainly not gone unnoticed. His peers have voted him conference coach of the year seven times in his career, including four straight years from 2002 through 2005, TCU's four seasons as a member of Conference USA. The honors have placed Montigel in uncharted territory. He is the only coach in any sport to be named coach of the year in four separate NCAA Division I conferences (SWC, WAC, C-USA and MWC).
In 2002, Montigel was voted into the Horned Frog Classic Hall of Fame and was named TCU Coach of the Year by the Dallas All-Sports Association.
In addition to his coaching duties, Montigel remains active on the national level. He serves as a member of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) with past stints as Chairman of the District VI Selection Committee and on the NCAA Men's Golf Committee.
Montigel and his wife, Margaret, have two children, Kelli and Thomas. Kelli graduated from TCU in 2010, while Thomas is a rising senior guard for the TCU men's basketball team.
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