FORT MYERS, Fla. – After serving as an assistant under legendary coach and instructor Dr. Jim Suttie the past two years, FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh announced on Wednesday that Brent Jensen has been promoted to head men’s golf coach, just the second in program history. Suttie, one of America’s 50 Greatest Teachers by Golf Digest since 2000, will stay with the program and assume his new role of Director of Golf Operations for both the men’s and women’s teams.
“It is with great pleasure that we witness the well deserved elevation of Brent to our head men’s position. He has earned the utmost respect from our student-athletes and others closely connected to FGCU Golf,” said Kavanagh. “Likewise, he has done a tremendous job working with Coach Suttie in developing our program to the point that we are now amongst the best in the Atlantic Sun and regionally. We now look forward to reaching our goals of perennially competing for the A-Sun championship and an NCAA berth. Based on the terrific performance of this year’s team and the strong core group returning, we are already excited for next year.”
Over his last two years as assistant coach, Jensen helped guide the Eagles to five tournament titles and an impressive 16 top-5 finishes out of 21 events. A trio of runner-ups from the 2009-10 season were included in those top-5s, highlighted by second place showing at the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championship. In the final round of last year’s conference championship, FGCU fired a four-man score of six-under par 282 to nearly erase East Tennessee State’s 10-stroke lead.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to work with Dr. Suttie and the athletic staff at FGCU as a head coach. I believe that the future of the golf program here at FGCU is bright and I hope to help carry on the tradition of excellence that has been set in place before me,” said Jensen, a native of Hinsdale, Ill. “With the continued guidance of Dr. Suttie, my goal is to make the golf program one of the strongest in the country and I will work tirelessly to help that become a reality. We have a great group of guys on our golf team that are willing to work hard and put in the time and energy it takes to be excellent. I’m excited to help guide them to another successful year.”
Prior to joining Suttie at FGCU in 2008, Jensen was the assistant coach at his alma mater St. Mary’s (CA) College. Jensen served three years under five-time West Coast Conference (WCC) Coach of the Year Scott Hardy, whom he also played for at St. Mary’s. Jensen assisted in golf swing analysis, practice drills and tournament directing as a member of the St. Mary’s staff. During Jensen’s time at his alma mater, the Gaels picked up four team titles, never finished worse than fourth at the WCC Championship and turned in three of the top five single-season four-man stroke averages. Jensen also worked with six players that earned All-WCC honors, including 2005 Conference Player of the Year Joe Lanza.
As a player at St. Mary’s, Jensen was a four-year letterwinner and a two-year captain. In 2000, Jensen led the Gaels in scoring average and was named the WCC Co-Freshman of the Year. Jensen finished his collegiate career with 24 rounds of par or better while ranking fifth all-time with five top-5 finishes, tied for fifth with nine top-10s and fifth with 19 top-20s.
The first and only men’s golf coach in FGCU history until this point, Suttie will now instruct both the men’s and women’s squads, while assisting in fundraising for both programs.
“We are so fortunate to be able to maintain Doc’s fantastic services in this new role as our Director of Operations for both programs,” Kavanagh stated. “We are excited to continue to have his top-15 nationally acclaimed teaching expertise benefitting our student-athletes and assisting both Coach Spero and Coach Jensen. Further, in working with Butch Perchan with our development initiatives, his numerous connections are invaluable in our pursuit of further enhancing our abilities to generate the much needed additional resources to help our programs grow into the national contenders we desire to be.”
During his 10 years at the helm of the FGCU men’s golf program, Suttie led the Eagles to 26 tournament titles and an astounding 62 top-5 finishes. Even more impressive, Suttie guided FGCU to eight tournament titles and 25 top-5s out of a possible 31 tournaments over the first three years of the athletic department’s transition into Division I. In the program’s only two appearances at the A-Sun Championship, Suttie led the Eagles to a respectable fifth place finish in 2009 and second place in 2010 after a spirited final round six-under 282 that featured a final round record seven-under par 65 by sophomore Brandon Pena.
The Eagles became one of the top Division II programs under Suttie from 2000-07, winning 18 tournaments and finishing in the top-five in 37 tournaments in just seven seasons. In its final season in Division II under Suttie, FGCU took 16th place at the Division II National Championships and earned a No. 1 ranking by Golfstat.com during the year.
Suttie, who still serves as the director of Dr. Jim Suttie’s Training Centers at the Club at Twin Eagles in Naples and at Cog Hill Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, was honored as the 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year and ranked No. 12 on Golf Digest’s 2004 list of America’s 50 Greatest Teachers. In addition, he is a three-time winner of the Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year award.
Jensen will have the luxury of welcoming back four of the five players who finished in the top 20 at the 2010 A-Sun Championship and accounted for the entire six-under par 282 score in the final round of the tournament. Three of the four shot par or better on the final day, led by Pena’s record-setting seven-under par 65. The quartet helped FGCU win three tournament titles in the fall of 2009 and kept the Eagles from finishing no lower than a tie for eighth place in any of 11 events they participated in last year.
TRANSACTIONS: Florida Gulf Coast hires Brent Jensen as men’s golf head coach and names Dr. Jim Suttie Director of Golf Operations
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT JENSEN:
“I’m excited for Brent and the wonderful opportunity he has ahead of him. He’s been a terrific assistant over the last two years and was vital in helping me build the program to where it is today. Brent has a great knack for relating to players and getting the best out of them.”
– Dr. Jim Suttie, Former FGCU Men’s Golf Coach
“FGCU has landed one of the most talented young golf coaches in the country. Brent has an amazing ability to relate to the student-athlete. He is a role model and excellent mentor for today's young men. His ability to coach and mold student-athletes into talented and successful graduates will be a tremendous asset for the FGCU golf program. He brings a wealth of knowledge with his experience as a stand out collegiate player and has the rare ability to combine his playing experience with his vast knowledge of the fundamentals of the game. The FGCU men's golf program will grow and benefit greatly with Brent Jensen as the Head Coach. I am anxious to watch the success that Brent will bring to the golf program at FGCU.”
– Scott Hardy, St. Mary’s Head Men’s Golf Coach
“Brent's passion and energy will be the perfect catalyst to the success of the men’s program at FGCU. I have no doubt that when we are through the Division I transition period, National Championship trophies will be the only option for Brent and his players. During my time playing for Coach Jensen, I had my best season and I owe that to the enormous belief he had in me and the team. It was a pleasure playing for him and I wish him much success in his time at FGCU.”
– Michael Hart, 2010 FGCU Men’s Golf Team Captain and Recent Graduate