May 10, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the second consecutive season, University of Notre Dame men's golfer Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) has been selected BIG EAST Player of the Year, it was announced by the league office Thursday. Irish head coach Jim Kubinski also claimed BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
"Our senior class as a whole has been a special one in many ways," stated Kubinski. "I'm thrilled to see Max recognized for his season of great play. I'm sure he'd tell you his teammates helped push him along the way. His experiences from the point of winning the BIG EAST last season, through a strong summer schedule - including match play at the Amateur - allowed his confidence to grow by leaps and bounds. Golf being a game of peaks and valleys, I'm really amazed by the consistently high level of play Max showed all season and, really, the last two seasons."
Entering his senior campaign after claiming BIG EAST Player of the Year and PING All-Midwest honors as a junior, Scodro put together one of the best seasons in Notre Dame program history this year. The senior co-captain ended the regular season with the lowest single-season stroke average (71.45) among all Notre Dame golfers since 1954 while also becoming the first BIG EAST golfer to earn medalist honors at back-to-back conference championships since Pat Fogarty of St. John's won three straight from '82-'84.
Additionally, Scodro moved into the top spot in career stroke average (73.34) aided by posting eight team-leading efforts this season and finishing top-25 individually at nine of the 10 stroke play tournaments this year. He has enjoyed a particularly strong spring season, sitting at 11-under par through the four-tournament docket with a stroke average of 71.07. Scodro concluded the year with 27 of his 29 rounds counting toward the team total, while also pacing the squad in both under-par (13) and even-par (4) rounds.
"Max went in to each event with a certain comfort about his chances of playing well," remarked Kubinski. "His swing or putting or a particular facet of his game may have been off a bit heading in, but once the tournament began he made it all work. That's an important quality for players who want to achieve great things. I'm very proud of Max's development on and off the course. He's grown up a great deal over his four years and has an exciting future."
Kubinski, meanwhile, was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season after guiding his team to their second straight BIG EAST Championship and a spot in the NCAA Regionals. It marked the first time a BIG EAST school has won back-to-back conference titles since the Irish won three straight from '04-'06.
He led his team to a 60-57-2 record on the year, which saw the Irish win each of their final two events (Battle at the Warren, BIG EAST Championship) to conclude the season. The berth to the Ann Arbor regional also marks the first time since '05-'06 that the Irish have qualified for NCAA competition in two straight seasons.
"Being named coach of the year is an honor, given the efforts of our BIG EAST coaches," explained Kubinski. "Results vary from year to year but the efforts of our BIG EAST coaches do not. We have a great group. I've always been proud of the affiliation we have as a group, so to be selected by my peers in this way means a great deal to me. Of course, as I mentioned after last year, it's really a team award. Coaches get recognized based on what their team does. I'm proud of the efforts our student-athletes put in, on and off the course."
The BIG EAST Conference also announced the 14-player all-BIG EAST Team, featuring four Irish golfers. Joining Scodro, a unanimous selection to the team, on the all-BIG EAST squad are senior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas), junior Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) and sophomore Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.).
It represents only the second time since the BIG EAST first announced an all-conference team in '99 that Notre Dame has placed four golfers on the list. For Scodro, it marks his fourth time being named all-BIG EAST, while Walker and Platt both earned their second such honor and McNamara was selected for the first time of his career.
The Irish get NCAA Regional action underway Thursday when they tee it up for the first round of the 13-team, 54-hole Ann Arbor Regional. Livestats can be followed via Golfstat.com.
Player of the Year Max Scodro, Sr., Notre Dame *
Freshman of the Year Trey Valentine, Fr., USF *
Coach of the Year Jim Kubinski, Notre Dame
All-BIG EAST Team Brian Dorfman, Sr., Georgetown Taylor Hall, Sr., Georgetown Justin Dorward, Sr., Louisville * Paul McNamara III, Jr., Notre Dame Niall Platt, So., Notre Dame Max Scodro, Sr., Notre Dame * Chris Walker, Sr., Notre Dame Ryan McCormick, So., St. John's Pat Wilson, Jr., St. John's Gary Dunne, So., Seton Hall Troy Spencer, Sr., Seton Hall Branden Collins, Fr., USF Trey Valentine, Fr., USF Michael Kania, Jr., Villanova *
* unanimous selection