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Ryan Donovan

Head Coach

11th Year

Alma Mater:
San Diego State, 2001

Ryan Donovan


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Ryan Donovan is in his 11th 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 86 top-10 tournament finishes, including 13 of 14 events in 2010-11, 62 top-five performances, 19 team titles and four NCAA national championship appearances. During his tenure, the team has advanced to the NCAA regionals every season with a current active streak of 13 straight postseason bids. SDSU has also placed in the top two at the conference championships four of the last six campaigns.

This past season (2010-11), Donovan led the program to its' first Mountain West and NCAA regional championships. In addition, the Aztecs claimed five other tournament titles at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, the Arizona Invitational, the USC Invitational, the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic and the Barona Collegiate Cup. 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, 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 national 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, 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.