Nova coach savors team’s national title

Nova Southeastern University coach Ryan Jamison
Nova Southeastern University coach Ryan Jamison

At age 32 and three years into the job, Ryan Jamison — the golf coach at Nova Southeastern University — already has a national championship to his and his school’s credit.

Pretty heady stuff, but Jamison is trying to take last week’s Division II national golf title in stride as an extremely pleasant experience, and he’s trying to convince his players to do the same.

But with a few days gone by to realize what he and his team had accomplished, some savoring can be allowed.

“It actually feels awesome,” Jamison said. “It’s hard to express in words how it feels to achieve something that you set out to do and worked hard to do. It wasn’t easy. You need chemistry and camaraderie to accomplish something like this.

“I’m so proud of the guys.”

“The guys” would be the five players — Ethan Marcus, Priyanshu Singh, Oscar Lengden, Santiago Gomez and Richard Mansell — who made their way through stroke play and into match play and then finally defeated Lynn University 3-2 in the final match to win the title on the Rock Barn Golf & Spa course in Conover, North Carolina.

Jamison has not made his tired team pick up a club since the group came home.

“I think right now it’s a good time to rest and let it all soak in,” Jamison said. “At nationals, they were walking 10 to 15 miles a day. Their feet may still be barking a bit.”

The players’ feet might be hurting, but their attitude and outlook is not.

“They learned the feeling of winning a championship, all the energy and excitement involved,” Jamison said. “I want them to want to achieve that feeling once again.”

There’s a good possibility that could happen since Nova will return four of five starters who competed in the national championship run with only Lengden graduating. In addition, Jamison has three promising freshmen joining the team next season.

How did Jamison put together this close-knit group?

“Green grass and warm weather is a great resource to attract golfers,” he said of South Florida. “And winning this national title certainly won’t hurt our recruiting. That’s a good starting point for next year.”

South Florida has become the focal point of Division II golf in recent years.

In the past three years, three South Florida schools that are no more than 50 miles apart swept the 1-2 positions in the national Division II championships. Nova of Broward County and Lynn of Palm Beach County were, in order, 1-2 this season. Barry was first in the 2014 championship with Nova second, and in 2013 Barry was first with Lynn second.

In this year’s tournament, two-time defending champion Barry — which lost No. 1 player Adam Svensson midway through the season when he turned pro — almost made it into match play at the nationals, but stumbled in the final nine holes of stroke play.

“This area simply has some great golf,” Jamison said.