For the second time in three years, Valparaiso University men’s golf head coach David Gring was named Horizon League Coach of the Year in a vote of his peers, as the league held its annual awards banquet preceding the league tournament Thursday evening. In addition, the Crusaders placed a pair of golfers on the All-League squad, as sophomores Nick Seitz (Xenia, Ohio/Carroll) and Peter Webb (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial) earned All-League accolades.
Gring, who was previously named Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2013 immediately preceding the Crusaders’ Horizon League Championship title, earned his second accolade in three years after guiding Valpo to its top regular season since the program’s reinstatement. Under Gring’s tutelage this season, the Crusaders won two tournament titles and earned two other top-four finishes. The Crusaders’ team average of 294.92 is over four strokes lower than the current program record for single-season team scoring average. He has led a balanced team, as three different golfers are on pace to break Valpo’s previous single-season scoring average record. Eight different Crusader golfers earned a top-10 individual finish on the season, with six of those competitors recording at least two top-10 placements.
“I'm humbled by the award, especially coming from the peers that our team competes with throughout the year,” said Gring on his Coach of the Year honor. “I'm very blessed to have 12 guys on our team that love to play golf, compete in tournaments, and get the job done in the classroom, too. Josh Kalita, our assistant coach, deserves a lot of credit for the success of our team, and it is fun to work with him and the guys in both practice and tournaments.”
Seitz led the Crusaders in scoring average during the regular season and ranked sixth in the Horizon League with a 73.67 average, a mark which would set a new Valpo single-season record. The sophomore earned three top-five finishes in nine tournaments, highlighted by a second-place finish at the CSU Cougar Classic. Seitz set new program records for an 18-hole round (65) and a 54-hole tournament (206) at the Golfweek Program Challenge, finishing in fifth place and earning Horizon League Golfer of the Week accolades.
“Nick has had a tremendous year for our team, leading us in scoring average and shooting 12 of his 24 rounds of golf at par or better,” said Gring. “He has been a model of consistency for us, along with demonstrating that he can go below par. Nick is a great competitor on the golf course and an excellent student in the classroom. I'm very happy to see Nick win his award.”
Webb joined his classmate on the All-League team after closing the regular season with a 74.05 scoring average, a mark which was good for seventh in the league and betters the previous Crusader single-season mark as well. The sophomore helped Valpo to the team title at the Wright State Invitational with a third-place finish individually. Webb posted a season-best 54-hole score of 211 (-2) at the Bash at the Beach Collegiate Invitational, good for a 10th-place finish and Horizon League Golfer of the Week honors.
“Peter has played very well for us, especially this spring,” said Gring. “Pete has had two top-10 finishes and six rounds of par or better for us just this spring. He is second on our team with his scoring average and always has the ability to go low for us. Pete works very hard in practice every day and is another terrific competitor on our team. He is certainly very deserving of his award.”
“We are looking forward to the tournament commencing tomorrow and the opportunity to win another championship,” said Gring on this weekend’s ensuing Horizon League Championship. “The team is playing well and we are looking forward to the competition.”