Golf program alum and former graduate assistant coach Eric Klinger has returned to Liberty as the program's new assistant golf coach.
"I am excited to have Eric back with the program," commented head coach Jeff Thomas. "It was sad to lose (former assistant coach) Jay Calvo and I appreciate his commitment to Liberty athletics for the last eight years. I am thankful for everything he contributed to Liberty and the dedication he put forth in helping us move the golf program into becoming a national competitor."
"Eric will be a great addition to our staff and organization as we move into the next chapter of our program. Eric is one of the most competitive people I know and I look forward to having his intensity, work ethic and focus around on a daily basis. He understands what we are trying to accomplish with the golf program and has a real passion for Liberty. It is always encouraging to have old players back and I am enthusiastic for what the future holds."
Klinger played two seasons for the Flames (2003-04 and 2004-05), including his senior year during Thomas' first season as Liberty's head coach.
He transferred to Liberty after playing two seasons at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. He earned NJCAA Academic All-America honors in 2003 and participated in consecutive NJCAA National Championship events for the Cavaliers.
During his final year with the program, Johnson County finished in 13th place at the NJCAA National Championship, aided by Klinger's 27th–place individual showing.
Klinger transferred to Liberty during the fall of 2003 and participated in a pair of events during his first season on Liberty Mountain.
As a senior, he participated in seven events, spotlighted by a ninth-place showing at the Scotty Duncan Memorial. He opened the 36-hole event, hosted by Delaware at the Frog Hollow Club in Middleton, Del., with a career-best two-under par 69, which allowed Liberty to close out the 2004-05 campaign with a second-place team finish.
After graduation, Klinger remained with the program, serving as a graduate assistant coach during Liberty's 2005-06 season.
During his one season with the program, Klinger helped with the initial construction phase of Liberty's first on-campus practice facility.
Liberty captured three team titles during Klinger's one season on staff, finishing first at the Frank Landrey Invitational, Hargrove Davis Spring Classic and the William & Mary Invitational. Liberty's Frank Landrey Invitational victory came under Klinger's watch, as Thomas was absent from the team due to the birth of his second daughter.
Klinger's first season as a graduate assistant coach with Liberty culminated with the Flames earning an at-large selection to the 2006 NCAA East Regional, played at the Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The at-large berth was the program's second selection into the NCAA Regional postseason field.
Since leaving Liberty, Klinger has served as an internal auditor for CenturyLink in Overland Park, Kan. (2006-09) and as a controller at Camp Bethel Ministries in Wise, Va. (2009-13).
Klinger graduated from Liberty in 2005 with a bachelor of science degree in business finance. The native of Warsaw, Ind., and his wife Rachel, also a Liberty graduate, have three children – Natalie (four years old), Bodie (two years old) and Blake (five months old).
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