M. Golf headed to Florida for NCAA Championships
Men's Golf locks up berth in NCAA Championships
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Bio entering 2014-15 season
Ryan Donovan is in his 12th year as head coach at San Diego State, having elevated his alma mater into a perennial national top-25 program.
Donovan has coached the Aztecs to 123 top-10 overall tournament finishes, 89 top-five performances, 26 team titles and five NCAA championship appearances, highlighted by a fifth-place tie in 2012. During his tenure, SDSU has advanced to the NCAA regionals every season with a current active streak of 16 straight postseason bids. The Aztecs have also finished no worse than second at the Mountain West championships in each of the last six seasons, winning back-to-back team titles in 2011 and 2012.
Under Donovan's guidance, SDSU golfers have garnered 20 all-Mountain West accolades and 10 all-region honors, while four of his players have been named to eight All-America teams. In addition, Donovan has mentored three MW Freshmen of the Year winners, including Ricky DeSantis (2014), Riccardo Michelini (2013) and Matt Hoffenberg (2008).
During the 2013-14 campaign, Donovan led a youthful squad to a school-record 16th consecutive NCAA regional appearance, following a second-place showing at the MW Championship. Despite a challenging schedule, the Aztecs recorded five top-five finishes on the season, highlighted by the team title at the Jones Invitational in February. Individually, Xander Schauffele received all-region distinction and was named to the all-MW team for the second year in a row, joining first-time honorees DeSantis and Michelini.
Despite the loss of four regulars from the previous season, Donovan guided SDSU to the brink another NCAA championship berth in 2012-13, before falling in a sudden-death playoff in the regional round. With one senior in the starting lineup, the Aztecs still managed seven top-five team finishes on the year, including the championship at their own Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic. Individually, he oversaw the development of Tom Berry, who earned all-region recognition and landed on the all-MW squad, along with teammate Schauffele.
With Donovan at the controls, San Diego State soared to new heights in 2011-12, as the Aztecs posted their highest finish ever at the Division I level with a fifth-place tie at the NCAA Championships. SDSU, which was one of just eight squads to advance to the match-play phase of the tournament, staged an incredible rally during the final 18 holes of medal play, catapulting from 15th all the way into a tie for fourth after carding the low round of the event.
The 2011-12 Aztecs maintained a top-20 ranking throughout the campaign, winning five tournament titles, including four straight, and boasting a combined head-to-head record of 174-27-3 (.860). Donovan helped the team earn consecutive Mountain West crowns, becoming the first league school to accomplish the feat since 2005-06. For his efforts, he was named MW Coach of the Year for the second straight season and was one of just seven finalists for the Dave Williams Award, which is handed out to the national coach of the year in Division I men's golf.
In 2010-11, Donovan led the program to its first Mountain West and NCAA regional championships. In addition, the Aztecs claimed five other tournament titles, including their own Barona Collegiate Cup at Barona Greek Golf Club. The seven titles ranked second nationally to only consensus No. 1 Oklahoma State, which had eight victories.
He also helped the 2010-11 squad to as high as a No. 4 national ranking by golfstat.com, 13 top-five finishes, including 12 in the top three, while boasting a combined head-to-head record of 168-31-1, which amounts to a 84.3 winning percentage. SDSU did not finish lower than seventh at any 2010-11 outing prior to the NCAA national championships and twice was named the national team of the week by GolfWeek.
Under Donovan's tutelage, J.J. Spaun was named a third-team All-American and first team all-conference honoree, while freshman Todd Baek picked up honorable mention All-America and national all-freshman accolades. Both Spaun (t-3rd) and Baek (t-10th) finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships and were joined by Alex Kang on the all-region squad.
Donovan was rewarded for the team's success a year ago, becoming the first Aztec named Mountain West Men's Golf Coach of the Year in the league's 12-year history. He was honored on the national stage as one of 12 finalists for the Dave Williams Award, which is handed out annually to the national coach of the year in Division I men's golf. Donovan also was tabbed region coach of the year by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) for the second time in his career.
In 2009-10, Donovan helped San Diego State to seven top-five finishes, including victories at the Turtle Bay Resort College Invite in Hawaii and the Barona Collegiate Cup in March. The Aztecs were also runners-up at the Mountain West Conference championships and prestigious U.S. Intercollegiate, attaining a final No. 24 national ranking by Golfweek/Sagarin.
Individually, four different SDSU players won or shared an individual tournament title. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Morris kicked off the year by placing first at the Firestone Grill College Invite in October, before Andrew Cooley and Kang shared medalist honors at the Hawaii event in November. In the spring, Spaun, who later was named all-MWC, beat out 88 other golfers to win the Thunderbird Invitational in a playoff in Arizona.
The 2008-09 campaign saw Donovan lead the program to 10 top-five finishes, bolstered by six runner-up performances, en route to its 11th consecutive and 14th overall NCAA regional appearance. The Aztecs ended the season ranked 21st nationally by golfstat.com, and narrowly lost in a playoff to TCU for the 2009 league crown. Three players finished as tournament runners-up, including then sophomore Johan Carlsson, who received conference player-of-the-month honors in November 2008, and was later named all-conference.
Under Donovan's direction in 2007-08, San Diego State placed in the top 14 in all 15 outings with the 15th tournament of the campaign being a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the school's best placing in 26 years.
Just getting to the national stage took a great leadership from Donovan, as he helped the Aztecs vault 11 places from 20th into a tie for ninth to force a three-way playoff during the final round of the NCAA West Regionals. SDSU posted a tournament-low tying 5-under-par 283 over the final 18 holes of regulation, then shot a combined 2-under par along with Texas in a shotgun sudden-death format to advance to nationals.
Individually, Donovan tutored a pair of athletes, senior Aaron Goldberg and junior David Palm, to All-America accolades. Goldberg became the first Aztec to gain All-America status in consecutive seasons since 1983-84 after he was awarded with third-team honors. Palm, meanwhile, was named to the honorable mention squad. Additionally, both were all-Mountain West Conference and all-Southwest Region selections. Other players to earn season-ending recognition under Donovan were Matt Hoffenberg (MWC Freshman of the Year, all-MWC, all-Southwest Region) and Carlsson (all-Southwest Region). For his team's performances, Donovan, himself, was named the Eaton Golf Pride Division I Coach of the Year for the Southwest region, given annually by the GCAA.
In 2006-07, SDSU secured three team tournament titles and reached the NCAA Regionals for the team's ninth straight appearance. Goldberg had one the program's finest seasons, finishing with a scoring average of 70.71, seven top-10 finishes and medalist honors at the District 7 Fall Shootout on his way to being named a honorable mention PING All-American, the program's first such honor since 2001.
The 2005-06 season was equally impressive as Donovan guided SDSU to three team tournament victories en route to its eighth consecutive NCAA regional appearance. Three Aztec golfers - seniors Andrew Scott and Josh Warthen and sophomore Palm - also claimed individual titles during the season, while Scott and Goldberg garnered all-Mountain West Conference accolades.
In 2004-05, Donovan led SDSU to its second NCAA championship appearance in three years, while the Aztecs posted 12, top-10 individual finishes to go along with six straight top-five team performances during the regular season.
Donovan returned to Montezuma Mesa as an assistant coach under former head coach and current director of operations Dale Walker, but was later promoted to interim head coach after the conclusion of the 2003 fall season and guided SDSU through the entire 2004 spring campaign.
Donovan completed his first season as head coach with four of his players combining for eight, top-five individual tournament finishes and two tournament wins.
Prior to coaching at SDSU, Donovan was a four-year member of the Aztec golf squad and went on to join the professional ranks.
Donovan competed for the Aztecs from 1997-2001. His most successful season came as a junior when he posted five, top-30 finishes. During his senior year, he shot a career-best 4-under 212 at the Aztec Invitational, placing second overall and helping SDSU to the tournament title.
Donovan also has national experience on his playing résumé. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 1996 and 1999, and played in the British Amateur in 2001 before turning pro. He then competed on the Golden State Tour in 2001 and the Gateway Tour in 2002.
A native of Yorba Linda, Calif., Donovan was a four-time all-Sunset League performer at Esperanza High School and was named first-team all-Orange County his senior season. Donovan graduated with a degree in public administration and currently resides in San Diego with his wife, Janelle.