Live chat with the men's golf head coach took place May 27, 2004
Amy : Just how good is John Holmes?
Brian Craig : John's best golf is still ahead of him. He is incredibly long, has a great feel for the game and most importantly, he has tremendous confidence in himself. Personally, I think the sky is the limit for the rest of his amateur career, as well as his professional career.
Jack Nance : Just tell Brian congratulations on the Regional win...the Carolinas Golf Association is proud of his accomplishment(s)
Brian Craig : Thanks for your support and all the Carolinas Golf Association did for me while growing up in North Carolina.
Rob : Coach, Congratulations from all of us in the state of Florida. We are very proud of you and always knew you would be as good of a coach as you were a player at UF. How do you think your boys will stack up against the competition next week? Are we going to need a miracle to stay in contention?
Brian Craig : Thanks for your support. I think we will need to have our best games next week to compete for the national title. We will still be down a man, so we will need everyone to step up just like we did at the Central Region Championships. If that happens, we have a pretty good chance to compete for the championship.
Philip : Are you going to entertain any new job offers this summer? Can you see yourself staying in Lexington throughout your career? We sure love you here and hope you will stay for a long time!
Brian Craig : My wife and I absolutely love Lexington and the University of Kentucky. We are hopeful to have a long and succcessful career as Wildcats.
Joe : What did you say to the players headed into the last round of the regionals so they were able to maintain their lead?
Brian Craig : I just told them that we were good enough to finish it off and to keep playing with confidence and patience and we would be fine.
Tom Grant : From Sunny Sunny MouseLand Congratulations on the victory at the regionals. I noticed Matt Kohn did not play what is his status?
Brian Craig : As of right now, Matt Kohn is not eligible to compete. It would take a minor miracle for that to change before we head to the NCAA Championships. I am extremely confident in the five guys that we will take to The Homestead and I look forward to us playing our best.
HoleInOne : Does winning the regionals put any extra pressure on you to perform well at the championships?
Brian Craig : I don't think it adds any extra pressure, but it certainly helps our confidence level to be what it needs to be to compete against the best teams in Division I.
JT : Were you nervous when everyone was coming down the stretch?
Brian Craig : I was a little bit nervous, particularly on the last three holes, due to their extreme difficulty. However, I knew our guys were playing well and our confidence was high and I believed that we would play our best.
Charles : What can we expect in the future for UK golf?
Brian Craig : We have no seniors on this roster, so next year looks very promising. After that, we will definitely need to recruit some high-caliber student-athletes to continue our recent success. We will also need some of the guys who are not starters right now to raise the level of their games to the bar that is being set.
Bethany : I know alot of the guys from school and they are so awesome! Are they as fun on the course as they are off?
Brian Craig : As you know, they are fine young men who handle themselves with class on the golf course. I wouldn't say they are fun on the golf course, but they certainly are competitive.
Troy : I find it unlikely that the talent level of this team is much better than those teams in the past decade even, and with my experience,a golf coach's impact on his team's play is somewhat minimal. What have you done in the past couple of years to change your team's attitude towards winning.
Brian Craig : More than anything, we have tried to establish a culture of dedication, commitment and expected success. These young players really believe that they can compete with anybody in the country and that confidence is what sets this team apart from previous years.
Ray : What characteristics must a junior golfer display to be able to compete at the Div 1 level?
Brian Craig : The number one thing that we look at golfwise is a student-athlete's junior record in quality competitions. We first look at national competitions, followed by regional and local. I'm not that concerned with the scores that are shot, but I am extremely interested in the player's tournament finishes against competition his age or older.
MikeM, Louisville : Coach-congrats on another fine season and I hope the success continues. I wanted to know how the University club compares to other SEC/d-1 schools as far as a home course and practice facility? Keep up the great work and tell your team we are pulling for them! GO CATS!
Brian Craig : Thanks for the congratulations. The University Club is right up there with the best of facilities in the SEC. We are extremely grateful to have their support of our program. I can't say enough about how much our team benefits from and enjoys practicing and playing at such a great facility.
: COACH, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WIN AT THE REGIONALS AND YOUR TOP 10 RANKING. WHEN YOU FIRST TOOK THE KENTUCKY POSITION DID YOU THINK THAT IN 3 YEARS YOU WOULD BE SEEDED #2 GOING INTO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP? YOU GIVE THE PLAYERS ALOT OF CREDIT BUT YOUR STYLE OF COACHING AND INFLUENCE HAS PROMPTED ALOT OF THIS CONFIDENCE IN THE PLAYERS. WHO WAS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOU GOLFING CAREER AS A YOUNG PLAYER AND LATER AS A COLLEGIATE AND PROFESSIONAL PLAYER? THANKS FOR TURNING THE UK GOLF PROGRAM INTO ONE OF THE NATION'S BEST. THANKS, MAURICE
Brian Craig : Maurice, thanks for sending your son to the University of Kentucky. He makes me look like a genius. I am tickled to death that we are the No. 2 seed and won the regional. But, all the credit definitely goes to the players and not myself. Bruce Sudderth, who was the head golf professional at my local course, had the biggest influence on me learning the game as a junior player. On the mental side, my father had an enormous influence in helping me to believe in myself and my God-given ability. As a collegiate and professional, I give a lot of credit to my college coach, Buddy Alexander, for helping me to develop my skills in this great game.
Chad Baker (UF) : Hey BC... How has coaching at UK compared to your time at UF?
Brian Craig : Hey Chad! Its good to hear from you. There are many similarities between UK and UF in terms of the passionate fans and being the flagship university in their respective states. The main difference here, was the need to create a culture of expectations and success with the golf program.
Chad Baker (UF) : BC .. What methods of coaching do you use to get the most out of practice and to ensure that your players maintain their competitive edge?
Brian Craig : The first thing we do is have the guys play a lot of qualifying rounds to determine who travels to tournaments. I think this puts a lot of pressure on the player to perform and prepares him extremely well for competitions. We also use various competitive short game and putting drills to encourage competition among the team and also to help sharpen their skills. As far as ball-striking goes, we stress the core fundamentals of grip, alignment, ball position, posture and stance. I also give the guys a fair amount of freedom to specifically work on the areas that are unique to them and that they need to improve.
Bill : Will Matt Kohn be going to the NCAA finals?
Brian Craig : At this point, it looks very remote that Matt will be able to join us for the NCAA Championships. However, I am very confident in the five guys that will be going and we expect to play our best.
Chad Baker : BC .. Congratulations on Regionals. How difficult do you expect the course setup to be next week as compared to the other tournaments you play during the year?
Brian Craig : The biggest difference will be the thickness of the rough. We can also expect the greens to be a little faster than we see week-to-week. The NCAA does a great job of setting up courses in a very challenging, but fair fashion to help identify the best teams in the field.
Leah : what kind of finish will it take next week for you to consider this a successful season?
Brian Craig : Regardless of how we finish at the NCAAs, there is no question that this has been a successful season with at least one championship achieved. However, our goal is to compete for the national title and it would make it that much more successful if we could have a chance to win it all on the last day of the NCAAs.
Marty : Why didn't you putt better on the Big Blue Carvan?
Brian Craig : Marty, I think I was just nervous having to play with such a fine student of the game as yourself. However, I will give you credit for those terrific drives right down the middle of the fairway!
ukathletics.com : We'd like to thank Coach Craig for taking the time to answer your questions. We wish him and the Cats the best of luck at the NCAA Championships next week.
Brian Craig : I appreciate this forum to speak with the loyal Big Blue fans about the progress of our men's golf team. We will do our best next week at the NCAA Championships to make all Wildcats proud. Go Cats!
Chad B : Later BC .. keep up the good work! Go Gators! (Sorry... have to remain loyal)
John & Rosie : Coach, thanks so much for the continued faith you have shown in our son. We truly appreciate your support in helping him gain the confidence to step up for the team. We want to keep you around for a very long time!