Finalists Named for 2016 Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
NORMAN, Okla. – Ryan Blagg of Baylor, North Carolina’s Andrew DiBitetto, Jean-Paul Hebert of Texas and LSU’s Garrett Runion have been named finalists for the 2016 Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf as selected by the GCAA. The Strickland Award is presented to the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA or NJCAA assistant coach that, among other things, has excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom.
Blagg is in his third season as Baylor’s assistant coach. Last season, he helped the Bears to top-five finishes in nine of 11 regular season tournaments, including seven times in the top three. Baylor also advanced to the NCAA West Regional, extending one of the nation’s longest active streaks with 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. In his first season with the Bears, Blagg helped guide the team to seven top-five finishes. Baylor posted two wins and four additional top-five finishes in 2015-16.
DiBitetto is in his fifth year at North Carolina and his second as the associate head coach. The Tar Heels have won six team titles and six different players have won medalist honors eight times in DiBitetto’s four years in Chapel Hill. Ben Griffin earned honorable mention PING All-America and All-ACC honors in 2015. Griffin and William Register each won two tournaments in their first collegiate seasons. UNC played last year with a lineup that included two sophomores and two freshmen and won three events for the first time in 16 years. This season the Tar Heels have one tournament victory and seven additional top-five finishes in nine events.
After four years as a volunteer assistant coach, Hebert joined the Texas coaching staff fulltime as assistant coach in 2014. He was instrumental in helping the 2014-15 squad to its ninth-consecutive NCAA Championship, advancing to match play before falling to USC in the quarterfinal round. The team also won seven tournaments during the season, the second-most in school history, and boasted four All-Americans, the Big 12 Player of the Year and the Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award. Hebert has helped lead Texas to four first-place finishes this season, including seven top-four showings. Longhorn golfers have combined medalist honors six times in 2015-16.
Runion is in his fourth season at LSU. The Tigers have advanced to the NCAA Championships in each of Runion’s three previous seasons, including claiming the national championship in 2015 and advancing to the national semifinals in 2014. In addition to the NCAA Championship, LSU won four other team titles, including the SEC Championship. The Tigers have three wins in their current campaign and two runner-up finishes.
The Strickland Award recipient will have the opportunity to further his professional development by receiving an invitation to the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Kingdom in Carlsbad, Calif.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf has sponsored the Strickland Award since its inception in 2003.