Ex-Gator Craig to Coach UK Men's Golf
July 16, 2001
Brian Craig, a former Academic All-American at Florida and current head coach at Central Florida, has been named the new men's golf coach at the University of Kentucky, Athletics Director Larry Ivy announced today. Craig replaces Steve Smitha, who resigned in May.
"I'm honored that UK has chosen me because it's an incredible time to be the golf coach here," Craig said. "With the addition of the University Club and the hiring of a full-time golf coach, Kentucky is showing the commitment to have a top-notch program. And with the combination of UK being a premier athletics program in the Southeastern Conference and the advantage of having a home course, it's enticing to have the opportunity to build a great golf program."
Craig spent the last two seasons at Central Florida, coaching the Golden Knights to a second-place finish in the 2001 Trans America Athletic Conference Tournament. He signed four nationally ranked golfers last season, three of which made the TAAC's All-Freshman team including one, Andy Hollis, who was named the league's Freshman of the Year.
"Brian is another outstanding young coach who understands that we want to be competitive both on the golf course and in the classroom," Ivy said. "He has mentored under Buddy Alexander at Florida, he's excelled as an Academic All-American in the classroom and he's proven to have the ability to play, coach and recruit at this level."
Craig, 31, played golf at Florida for Alexander, earning Academic All-Southeastern Conference honors three times and an Academic All-America honor as a senior in 1992. He was a member of the Gators' 1990 NCAA Championship runner-up team and led the squad to the 1992 SEC and NCAA East Region titles. The Gastonia, N.C. native finished his collegiate career ranked 26th all-time at UF in rounds played and 18th in school history with seven top-20 finishes and five top-10 finishes. His best performance as a Gator was a fourth-place finish in the 1991 Gator Invitational.
After graduating with honors in economics, Craig turned professional and played in numerous mini-tour events, finishing 11th on the 1995 Powerbilt Tour's money list and 15th on the 1996 Golden Bear Tour's money list. He participated in the 1994 U.S. Open, won the 1995 Northwoods Classic and the 1996 Harbor Hills Championship. As an amateur, he advanced to the semifinals of the 1987 North Carolina Amateur Championships, and as a junior golfer, he won the 1984 and '86 North Carolina PGA Junior Championships, the 1984 Southern Golf Association Junior Championship and the 1984 North/South Junior title. Coming out of high school, he was rated as the fifth-best junior golfer in the nation. He returned to his alma mater in 1997 as an assistant coach and helped guide Florida to the 1999 SEC Championship while mentoring two All-Americans and seven All-SEC picks, including Steve Scott, the 1999 SEC Player of the Year.
He and his wife Tami have two children.