Former NC State Head Coach, GCAA Hall of Famer Richard Sykes, dies at 78
NC State Athletics Mourns the Passing of Richard Sykes
RALEIGH – The NC State Athletics Department is saddened to hear of the passing of former head men's golf coach Richard Sykes.
"Richard Sykes is one of the pillars that NC State Athletics is built on," NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said. "Although for 46 years he was our head men's golf coach, Coach Sykes was much more than that to NC State. He was a passionate leader, educator and builder of young men. He had an infectious personality and I don't know of anybody that spent time with Coach Sykes that didn't leave with a good story to share and a deeper appreciation for him and his program. This is a tremendous loss for our University and my condolences are with his wife Pam, his children, David, Rick, Paige and Stacy and his six grandchildren."
Sykes was the head men's golf coach at NC State from 1972-2017. Sykes led NC State to 24 NCAA Regional appearances, 12 NCAA Championships and the program's lone ACC title in 1990 during his tenure.
He coached 49 All-ACC golfers, 34 All-Americans, six ACC individual champions, two ACC Players of the Year and the 2009 NCAA individual champion, Matt Hill.
"Coach Sykes is - and will remain- synonymous with NC State Golf," current NC State head men's golf coach Press McPhaul said. "To 46 years worth of Wolfpack college golfers, he was our coach, encourager and friend. He had a special ability to make someone smile. When he was inducted to the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame, he said the only thing better than being called, 'Coach' was being called 'Sugar' by Pam and 'Daddy' by his children. Coach will be missed by his family, by his players and by his fellow coaches from coast to coast. We all looked to him to help us smile. Our hearts are heavy today, and we are thankful for his friendship."
For his accomplishments at the helm of the Pack, Sykes was selected into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 by the Golf Coaches Association of America. A five-time ACC Coach of the Year, Sykes was bestowed the honor in 1982, 1988, 1990, 2000 and 2017.
Sykes has also seen many former players enjoy solid professional golf careers, including Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson, Marc Turnesa, Garth Mulroy, Hank Kim, Jeff Lankford, Kelly Mitchum, Vance Heafner, Justin Walters and Matt Hill.
Sykes was a 1968 graduate of NC State, where he earned his degree in recreation and parks administration.
Sykes was a member of the freshman track team while at NC State, and was also on the men's varsity golf team for the 1965-66 season.
He oversaw the completion of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, NC State's home golf course designed by Arnold Palmer's Course Design Company. A former member of the National Advisory Board for the Golf Coaches Association of America, Sykes has served on the NCAA Selection Committee and has been the chairman as well.
Sykes is survived by his wife, the former Pam Manning of Zebulon, his four children: David, Rick, Paige and Stacy, and his six grandchildren: Alison, Cody, Samantha, Jack, Eddie and Justin.