If a consistently high level of achievement over a long period of time is the measure of a successful program, then Louisville's Mark Crabtree would meet those high standards.
Beginning his 15th season as the head coach of the University of Louisville men's golf program, Crabtree has guided the Cardinals to two BIG EAST titles, five regional appearances and two trips to the NCAA Championships.
When University of Louisville Vice President for Athletics/Athletics Director Tom Jurich hired Crabtree he knew he had someone who would eventually take the Cardinals' men's golf program to the next level, and that's exactly what Crabtree has done.
Crabtree has the Cardinals on the national scene and the Hall of Fame coach is not satisfied with what his program has accomplished to date.
Last season, Crabtree guided the Cardinals to their first tournament win since the 2009 BIG EAST Championship when Louisville captured the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational. In addition, Justin Dorward was selected to play as an individual in the NCAA Regional in Bowling Green, Ky. The Cardinals were runner-up at the BIG EAST Championship and finished in the top five at three additional tournaments.
The 2010-11 Cardinals posted the fifth-lowest team stroke average in school history and Karsten Clements ended his collegiate career with a runner-up finish at the BIG EAST Championship. Clements and Justin Dorward were named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Men's Golf Team.
Riley Wheeldon capped off the 2009-10 season by being tabbed as the BIG EAST Men's Golfer of the Year while Chris Biuso also was selected to the All-BIG EAST Men's Golf Team.
The Cardinals won their second BIG EAST title in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the fifth straight year. For his effort, Crabtree was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second time.
Crabtree saw then-senior Adam Hadwin take home medalist honors at the BIG EAST Championship and set the school record for single-season stroke average at 71.79. Crabtree also guided freshman Riley Wheeldon who was named the BIG EAST Newcomer of the Year.
Hadwin continues his career on the Web.com Tour. Hardwin, narrowly missed earning a PGA Tour Card for the 2013 season. Needing to finish in the top 25 at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, Hadwin tied for 32nd after firing a 15-under par 417 at the 108-hole tournament.
Last year, Hadwin was named the Male Professional of the Year by the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. Hadwin was a full-time member of the Canadian Tour in 2011 and thrilled Canadians from coast to coast. Hadwin tied for 31st at the U.S. Open at Congressional before tying for fourth at the RBC Canadian Open in Vancouver. He closed 2011 as the highest ranked Canadian golfer on the Official World Golf Rankings at 214.
In 2007-08, the Cardinals posted their best finish in school history -- a tenth-place finish at the NCAA Championships at Purdue University. Playing one of the toughest courses in the country, the Cardinals were in contention for most of the tournament and had their highest finish at the event when Adam Rainaud tied for 13th overall.
The Cardinals also won a pair of tournaments and finished second at the BIG EAST Championship. Derek Fathauer closed out his outstanding career with two tournament wins and also finished 69th at the United States Open. He became the first U of L player to make the cut at the US Open.
That season also saw Hadwin become an All-American Academic Scholar and Fathauer and Rainaud earned All-American accolades.
Crabtree has orchestrated a remarkable string of successful seasons for the Cardinals. Crabtree has guided his program to four straight regional appearances, two straight visits to the NCAA Championships and a BIG EAST title.
In just over 13 seasons at U of L, Crabtree's Cards have posted a top five team, a top seven individual, the top 10 career stroke averages in school history and placed numerous players in the U.S. Amateur tournament.
The Cardinals won a school record seven tournaments, which included their first BIG EAST Championship and advanced to the NCAA Championships, where they finished 27th overall in 2006-07.
Hosting the BIG EAST Championship for the first time, the Cardinals dominated play, as the Cardinals had four players finish in the top five.
In its first season in the BIG EAST in 2005-06, the Cardinals tied for the league title, but fell in a tight playoff to Notre Dame. It was Crabtree's highest finish in a league championship since taking over at the University of Louisville.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the second straight season. Louisville finished 22nd in the NCAA West Regional in Tucson, Ariz.
The 2005-06 season was one of the best in school history, as the Cardinals won a pair of tournaments and finished in the top three in seven other tournaments.
Under Crabtree's direction in 2004-05, the Cardinals finished 15th in the NCAA Regional, just missing advancing to the NCAA Championships. Louisville also recorded 13 top 10 finishes, 12 top 20 finishes and won a school record four tournaments that season.
While Jurich had complete confidence in Crabtree's ability to build a strong program on his own, he went a step further, as he has done with virtually every sport across the board, and ensured that his new coach would have facilities that could rival any program across the country. The Cardinal Club, the luxurious state-of-the-art home course of the Cardinals, opened in the fall of 2001 and with it began a new chapter for both the men's and women's golf programs. The Tom Musselman Golf Center opened in 2007 and has all the amenties for the men's and women's golf programs.
Success follows winners and it certainly followed Crabtree to U of L as his Cardinals have gained momentum with each passing season.
Under Crabtree's direction, the Cardinals have raised the bar each campaign, rewriting the U of L record book at a frenzied pace.
In 2003, Crabtree saw the Cardinals produce their first ever NCAA individual participant, as Brett Jones made the field.
During the 2001-02 campaign, Crabtree's young but talented squad notched a 291.5 collective stroke average, nearly six strokes better than the school record of 297.49 posted by the 1999-00 squad in Crabtree's first season in Louisville.
With one of the nation's top freshmen classes and senior Grant Sturgeon in the lineup, the Cards swung their way to one of the top seasons ever at U of L. Sturgeon broke the individual season stroke record established the previous year by Chris Campbell, who twice earned All-Conference USA accolades under Crabtree, while also setting a new standard for career stroke average.
Following his playing days at U of L, Sturgeon took his game to the pro ranks and promptly claimed victories in each of his first two pro events, including the 2002 Kentucky Open. Sturgeon spent the `03 season playing on the Hooters Tour.
Prior to his arrival in the Derby City, Crabtree spent nine seasons as the head coach at Colorado State University. There, he saw the Ram program go from a non-scholarship program into a top 25 team and NCAA Championship contender.
CSU qualified for four consecutive NCAA West Regionals under his guidance and qualified for its first NCAA Championship appearance in 1999. The Rams finished tied for 24th at the '99 championships held in Chaska, Minn.
Traditionally known as a cold-weather school, Colorado State entered the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Top 25 for the first time in 1998, finishing at No. 23. The Rams also sent their first individual, Nigel Spence, to the NCAA Finals. As a result, Crabtree earned NCAA District VII Coach of the Year honors in '98.
Along the way, Crabtree put together one of the nation's most competitive schedules, taking his program to elite tournaments in Honolulu, San Diego, Phoenix and San Francisco.
Ram golfers responded to the challenge, posting 11 top 10 team finishes in 15 competitions in 1998-99, including a second consecutive team title at the prestigious Stanford Invitational. The Rams knocked off then-No. 1 Georgia Tech on their way to the `97 title, marking the first time in school history a team had defeated the nation's top-ranked team in any sport.
CSU's road to the top 25 and the NCAA Championships was not an easy one.
His first class of Rams were homegrown and talented, leading CSU to four team championships, 27 top-five showings and two-runnerup finishes at the WAC Championship.
Crabtree, who played collegiately at the University of Colorado, was a four-time state champion and captured six Colorado Golf Association amateur titles. He also has been a qualifier for both the United States Golf Association Public Links and National Amateur Championships. He was selected to the Colroado Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Crabtree is married to the former Janie Huffman. They are the parents of Joshua (14) and Lauren (12).