Today is part 1 of 4 where we rank the Clemson football, basketball, baseball and golf coaches. Ranking the coaches in these more popular sports is subjective and your opinion may differ. I have asked around to friends, fans and colleagues and one name tops everyones list and I mean everyone when you talk Clemson athletics. We will have a poll later for you to vote.
Our #1 coach at Clemson :
Larry Penley Golf Coach
Penley's influence is everywhere. Last weekend former Clemson golfer Jonathan Byrd finished second in the Norther Trust Open.
Byrd now has a third ad an eighth for the 2012 season and is 28th in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup points race and 19th on the PGA Tour money list.
DJ Trahan is 46th in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Points race and 40th on the PGA Tour Money list.
Kyle Stanley is #1 on the money list and #1 in the FedEx Cup Points race. Stanley won two weeks ago at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix after narrowly losing in a playoff at Torrey Pines. His ascent on the PGA Tour is just starting after making 22 cuts in 2011, 4 top 10 finishes and 9 top 25 finishes.
Last week at the Pacific Rubiales Columbia Championship Nationwide Tour event former Clemson golfers Kevin Johnson and Charles Warren finished tied for 6th.
All of this handy work leads you to one man, their mentor and coach Larry Penley. While the Clemson football team gets all the accolades Penley quietly recruits, develops, coaches his golf team to high end national success every year . The man has made it through 28 seasons at Clemson creating the most consistent winner during that stretch. He has 23 top 25 finishes, 21 top 20 finishes, 17 top 15 finishes, 12 top 10's and 8 top five finishes at the NCAA Championships. The 21 top 20 finishes is the most ever for any Clemson coach at any sport. In the last 15 years Penley's teams have 9 top 10 performances.
Well it's only golf right? What is relevant here is his uncanny ability to reload this team ever single year over 28 years. If you look at any struggles in other sports at Clemson I think a shadowing of Penley could lead you to a solution. Clearly the man knows how to win and develop his players to win at very high level. You don't play on the PGA Tour because you are lucky. What is his formula? Recruit, develop, teach players how to win and send them off in to the world.
Has there ever been a more ringing endorsement for any Clemson sport than when CBS anchor announcer Jim Nantz makes the call on national television as Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd walk up 18 at Quail Hollow at the Wells Fargo and say "Welcome to the Clemson invitational"
Spanning the time through football coaches Danny Ford, Ken Hatfield, Tommy West, Tommy Bowden and Dabo Swinney; Larry Penley has remained successful at a high level. The Clemson golf team brought home a National Championship in 2003 under his leadership. We rank him our #1 athletic coach at Clemson in part one of four. With his team 2nd in Puerto Rico and loaded again his handy work continues to impress.
Larry Penley bio
Pic from Ongo