BACK ON COURSE

Former player returns to coach men’s golf team

By DANIEL HOOKER ’01
Eckberg

New WCU golf coach Tim Eckberg ’04 (left) talks with Keith Tyburski ’06, a former teammate and head coach at Colgate.

Tim Eckberg ’04, a former member of the WCU men’s golf team, in August was named its head coach by WCU Director of Athletics Randy Eaton. Eckberg played two seasons for the Catamounts and ranks 20th on the program’s career scoring average chart. Eckberg replaces former men’s golf coach Bryant Odom, who took over at nationally ranked Kennesaw State in late July. He is the fifth head coach of the Catamount men’s golf program since 1991.

“We are absolutely thrilled about Tim Eckberg joining our athletics staff,” said Gorham Bradley ’04, associate athletic director, who led the search committee. “Coach Eckberg’s commitment to student-athlete leadership and development, as well as his proven success in building a championship-level golf program, is exactly what we are looking for in our head men’s golf coach. His passion for coaching the game of golf and love for WCU made him a perfect fit to rejoin the Catamount family.”

Eckberg returns to Cullowhee after two years as head men’s and women’s golf coach at NAIA-member Cardinal Stritch University. The first-ever golf coach at the small Wisconsin school, Eckberg was charged with creating and building both golf programs from the ground up. During the inaugural season for the men’s program in 2013-14, he led the Wolves to a second-place finish at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament, and an 18th-place overall showing at the NAIA Championship. In the second year of the program, the Wolves won four tournaments as a part of placing inside the top 10 in each of the team’s 12 regular season events, including winning the CCAC Men’s Golf Championship. Cardinal Stritch went on to place 14th at the national NAIA Championship.

Originally from Walnut, Illinois, Eckberg played for the Catamounts from 2002 until 2004, twice earning the title of team captain, team most valuable player and Southern Conference All-Academic. He led the Catamount men’s golf squad in eight events during his two years in Cullowhee, posting four top-five finishes. “I am honored to have the opportunity to return to Western Carolina University and coach the program that I love at the university that I love,” he said.