June 15, 1999
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich announced today the hiring of Mark Crabtree as the Cardinals' men's golf coach. Crabtree leaves a similar position at Colorado State to come to U of L. Along with his coaching duties, Crabtree will assist in the area of development and fundraising for the Cardinals.
"This is a fabulous opportunity for myself and my family," said the 43-year-old Crabtree. "Obviously, my relationship with Tom was one of the reasons why I applied for the position but when I got there and met the people I was truly impressed with the University and the people who work there.
"It is difficult to leave the Fort Collins area and Colorado State but this is another tremendous challenge for me professionally. I'm proud of what we've accomplished here at Colorado State but the challenge that awaits me at Louisville is exciting. The people of Louisville and the University deserve a top-notch men's golf program and we're going to work hard to accomplish that goal."
In six seasons at Colorado State, Crabtree saw the Ram program go from a non-scholarship program into a top 25 team and NCAA Championship entry. CSU has 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.
"I was obviously very interested when Mark applied for the job," said Jurich, who worked with Crabtree during his tenure as athletics director at CSU. "I was able to witness first-hand the building of the Colorado State program from literally nothing into a Top 25 team. I know he can do the same for U of L. He and his family are a perfect fit for this athletic department and this wonderful community.
"It was very important to me that Mark and Janie, his wife, make this choice on their own. I know they were enamored with the Fort Collins area, and had a very difficult decision to make just like Terrilyn and I did two years ago."
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 '98-99 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 top ranked team in the nation in any sport.
"Mark is a first-class individual who can take this program to the next level," added Jurich. "He is community-minded, hard-working and has a proven track record of building a program."
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.
Prior to joining the CSU staff in 1990, Crabtree served as head coach at Fort Collins High School from 1982-90. In 1986, he guided FCHS to a state title. Crabtree's hiring is the latest in a year of significant golf-related announcements to come from the University and the city of Louisville.
The Cardinals will field their first-ever women's golf team this fall while the University plans to break ground this summer on its own championship golf course and club located 20 minutes southeast of the Belknap campus in Simpsonville, Ky.
Earlier this year, Louisville and the Valhalla Country Club were selected to play host to the 2000 and 2004 PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup matches in 2007.