Head Coach Jeff Thomas (left) with Ian McConnell during the 2014 NCAA Eugene Regional.
Liberty Head Men's Golf Coach Jeff Thomas has announced the hiring of former Flames men's golfer Ian McConnell as his new assistant coach.
During his four-year career at Liberty, McConnell played a key role in helping the Flames win three Big South titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) and make four-straight NCAA Regional appearances (2011-14).
"I am excited to have Ian back at Liberty serving as the assistant coach," said Thomas. "It is always good to have past players come back and work for the program. I think it says a lot for our program and the dedication of our players to Liberty and what we are trying to accomplish as a program."
"Ian understands the intricate process of recruiting elite junior golfers and has many contacts in the state of Florida," continued Thomas, who is entering his 12th year at the helm of the program. "He has a strong grasp of player development and has a passion to ‘Training Champions for Christ.' I am excited to have Ian back at Liberty and build on the achievements of the program for God's glory."
McConnell finished his collegiate golfing career with a 74.73 stroke average, a mark that ranked eighth in program history at the time of his graduation.
The native of Riverview, Fla., posted four top 10 finishes during his days at Liberty and played 25 rounds at par or better in 41 career events. In 2010, McConnell posted a 7-under par 209 to claim the individual title at the Richmond Invitational.
"I am excited to be returning to Liberty to become the assistant coach for the golf team," stated McConnell. "During my four years at Liberty, I fell in love with the school and the city of Lynchburg. I am thrilled to have the chance to work under Coach Thomas and his leadership. I look forward to helping him lead the team to new heights."
McConnell was a part of Liberty's starting five that won the 2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional. He closed the 54-hole event with the team's best final round score, an even par 72, helping the Flames finish three strokes ahead of Florida and six strokes in front of Auburn.
Liberty's regional victory earned the Flames a trip to the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship, where the team posted a 10th-place finish at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The top 10 finish is the highest team finish in athletics department history at a NCAA Division I national championship event.
McConnell excelled both on the course and in the classroom during his career. He was a four-year member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll and was named the 2014 Big South Men's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
McConnell is one of 11 players in program history to be named to the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars Team (2013 and 2014) and is one of three players to be named to golf's top academic team twice during his career.
Since graduating in May 2014, the former government major has worked as an operative and organizer for political campaigns in Florida. In addition to several local campaigns, McConnell worked as the Field Director for Governor Rick Scott's reelection campaign last November and as the Regional Director in southwest Florida for the Republican Party of Florida.
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