2013 GCAA National Convention Recap
The 2013 GCAA National Convention was held December 9-11 at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. More than 250 coaches were in attendance, making it the largest in the history of the association. Held in conjunction with the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) convention, the schedule of events featured nationally recognized speakers, educational sessions conducted by both the USGA and NCAA, as well as the opportunity to interact with more than 65 GCAA Corporate Partners during the annual Exhibit Night.
The annual convention brings together coaches from all divisions of men’s college golf, including members from the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. “This is the one time during the year when coaches from across the country gather to recognize the accomplishments of their peers, exchange ideas about their profession, and learn from golf industry leaders “, said GCAA CEO Gregg Grost.
Day one of the convention was highlighted by joint sessions with the WGCA that featured Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel, and former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice. McCarley and his team from Golf Channel discussed the new television package for the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Championships, which will begin with the men in 2014 and women in 2015, as well as their expanded coverage of college golf year-round.
Dr. Rice challenged the coaches to set the bar high for their student athletes both on the course and, more importantly, in the classroom. Dr. Rice shared stories from both her formative days in school as well as her time traveling the globe as one of the most powerful and influential diplomats in the world, She followed her remarks with a question and answer session, which set the tone for the remainder of the convention.
Henry Brunton, recognized as one of the leading instructors in in the world, highlighted the afternoon sessions. A PGA of Canada Master Professional, Brunton is the only Canadian listed among GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. He was the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s National Golf Coach from 1999-2011 and the creator of the PGA of Canada’s Teaching and Coaching Certification Program.
On Monday evening the GCAA Hall of Fame and National Awards Banquet was held in front of a packed room. The Hall of Fame class of 2013 was introduced to coaches, sponsors, family and friends in attendance. National Award recipients, including Coaches of the Year, Assistant Coach of the Year, the Labron Harris Senior Award, and Academic National Champions were recognized. During a reception prior to the awards dinner all current GCAA Hall of Fame members in attendance were recognized and brought together for a group photo.
Day two highlights included a first ever joint presentation by the USGA and NCAA. Stephen Clar, NCAA Rules and Compliance, and Thomas Pagel, USGA Executive Director for Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, explained the differences in amateurism rules between the two organizations. A long-time concern of coaches and their student athletes, the educational session provided a much clearer picture on how to protect their player’s amateur eligibility.
Steve Loy, GCAA Hall of Fame member and nationally recognized sports agent, shared with coaches his strategies on negotiating their personal employment contracts. He strongly encouraged all head coaches to participate in the GCAA head coach Compensation Survey that will be launched in January 2014.
The afternoon focused on breakout sessions for all Divisions including NCAA , NAIA, and NJCAA. Coaches discussed schedules, format, and other related topics for their upcoming national championships to be held in spring 2014. Assistant coaches, the fastest growing part of the GCAA membership, held a leadership driven session featuring Christian Newton , head men’s golf coach at Colorado State and a former Assistant Coach of the Year.
The final activity of the day was the annual GCAA Corporate Partner’s Exhibit Night. The 2013 show saw the largest number of Corporate Partners and Friends of the Association in the history of the convention with 68 in attendance. Coaches had the opportunity to meet and learn more about a myriad of products and services available to their programs.
Day three started with the annual GCAA General Business Meeting. President Todd Satterfield (Furman) led with his State of the Association Address and Treasurer Bruce Heppler (Georgia Tech) presented the projected 2013 year-end financial report. Immediate Past Present Bruce Brockbank (BYU) directed the election of new officers for 2014.
The final session of the convention featured a coaches’ panel consisting of J.T. Higgins (Texas A&M) , Bob Simms (St. John Fisher), and Kyle Blaser (Oklahoma City) .Coaches across all divisions asked questions on a range of topics, including recruiting strategies, how to set up practice sessions, and qualifying versus picking your traveling team.
Convention attendees headed home having had the opportunity to interact and share coaching philosophies with their peers from across the country. The 2014 National Convention will again be held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, December 8-10.