May 10, 2006
Eugene, OR (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The former PGA Tour and Stanford player was named successor when 14-year head coach Steve Nosler called it quits this year
Eugene native Casey Martin, known nationally for successfully suing the PGA Tour so he could use a golf cart to help ease the pain brought on by a birth defect in his right leg, was introduced as the men's golf coach at Oregon on Tuesday.
Martin spent last season as an assistant coach to former Oregon coach Steve Nosler, who decided in March to step down after 14 seasons. Martin has no previous head coaching experience, but he has a resume that includes a pair of All-America awards and a member of the 1994 National Championship squad at Stanford. He was also a three-time All-Pacific-10 Conference honoree.
"I think it'll bring positive recognition, certainly additional credibility. Casey has all the right qualities we were looking for and then an extra one in regards to his professional career and the strength and determination and courage that he has shown when he challenged the PGA and so forth. Those are just extras for me that I think showcase what he is all about," Oregon athletics director Bill Moos said after highlighting Martin as the perfect fit.
Martin, who has competed professionally, said he wants to continue traveling to tournaments when it fits in his coaching and recruiting schedule.
"I think it'd be great to do that, but at the same time that's not going to be my main focus," said Martin, who will be competing in events in Chicago and Chattanooga in June.
Meanwhile the Ducks are coming off a disappointing season, where they finished last at the Pac-10 Championships in late April.
"The vision for the program is to become as good as we possibly can as soon as we possibly can," Martin said. "That sounds awfully probably basic, but to get good at something at sports, there's really no shortcut. You've got to have kids with talent and you've got to work extremely hard and get really focused.
"Obviously we didn't have a great year this year. I truly believe with the guys returning we can be very competitive. The Pac-10 is an extremely good golf conference. I think if every guy can improve a little bit over the summer, and if I can go out and maybe sign a guy over the summer, I think we can compete with them. It may or may not be next year, but hopefully it will be sooner than later."
Sophomore Derek Sipe said the team is very positive about the hire and the fact that Martin has had success at the level they are playing at is important.
"It's definitely nice to have a guy like that, who has been out there," Sipe said. "So you're like, 'OK, if I can compete with this guy, he's been out on the tour, he's playing Nationwides (tournaments) right now.' So it's cool, definitely nice to have a guy like that to compete against."
Sipe also believes Martin will rejuvenate a team that is close to success.
"We've kinda been in a little rut lately, doing the same things over and over, not playing as we should be playing with the talent that we have on this team," Sipe said.
Meanwhile, the expectation that the team, Moos and Martin have are one in the same: To compete in one of arguably the most competitive conferences .
"Probably a pretty good expectation for us would be just really, really competing in the Pac-10, just proving that we do deserve a spot in this conference," Sipe said. "Because I don't think we did that this year. We played very, very poorly. I think we were way below expectations.
"I think having a strong showing in tournaments against Pac-10 teams and a strong showing at the Pac-10s next year ... I think just really proving to other schools that we deserve to be out there and we deserve a spot in the elite, not only in the Pac-10 but in the nation. It might not happen next year, but I think next year is a stepping block, or a building block, working our way toward the future."
Moos agreed that winning is possible, as proven by the most recent coach.
"Steve Nosler has shown that you can win at the University of Oregon," Moos said. "Like all of our sports I expect us to be in a position to contend and hopefully win a championship in the future."
Martin said his familiarity within the sport should help him recruit.
"Well I sure hope it helps," Martin said. "Because of my recognition to the game, I think I can go to some of these tournament and have instant, hopefully, instant credibility and recognition based on what I've been through."
And what about recruiting against his alma-mater?
"Stanford's going to be my nemesis," Martin said. "Stanford is a very difficult school to recruit against. Fortunately, they can only sign a couple of kids a year and there are tons of players on the West Coast especially. Conrad Ray, the coach at Stanford, is a good friend of mine. I'm going to find out exactly who he is recruiting and then I'm going to focus on some of the other ones. But I'll give him a run at least. That's certainly going to be a challenge.
"And there's a lot of schools up and down the Pac-10. It's hard to recruit against SC, UCLA, Arizona State and Arizona. These are established programs. But that's exciting to me. I want to see if I can shake up that whole world and bring it to you up here."
Moos hopes Martin will be successful for years to come.
"We're hopeful this is going to be a long-term deal," Moos said. "I'm a believer in stability in all of our programs. To have people that don't consider Oregon as a stepping stone but as a destination in itself. Certainly there is no other job in my conversations with Casey that he would be interested in. He is a true Oregon Duck and a tremendous competitor and I think he'll be a real, real asset to our university."
(C) 2006 Oregon Daily Emerald via CSTV U-WIRE