U hires new head golf coach

After several weeks of indecision, the U athletics department announced the hiring of Randall McCracken as the new head golf coach last weekend.

McCracken, a golf teaching professional at Willow Creek Country Club, will resign his post as head coach of Utah Valley State College, where he has been the head coach for two years. He will retain his job at Willow Creek.

A University of Oregon graduate, McCracken’s resume includes a two-year stint as a teaching pro in Idaho Falls, followed by various teaching assignments at golf clubs in Florida.

Former Ute golfer Luke Swilor said that McCracken appears to be the right man for the job. Swilor played with McCracken in a tournament recently and was impressed by the new coach’s demeanor.

“He was really nice to play with,” Swilor said. “He seems like a really good guy.”

As to whether or not McCracken will be able to take a somewhat volatile situation and use it to his advantage, Swilor gave every indication that the Utes had made a good selection.

“From everyone I’ve talked to, he seems to fit pretty well into the U system,” Swilor said. “It was a tough summer for the program. There was no recruiting going on, there was no leadership. Hopefully this will settle things down.”

“I’m sure he’ll do a great job,” he added.

Former head coach Wayne Fisher resigned his post at the end of the last school year amid allegations from several players that he drove a team vehicle after consuming alcohol. Fisher denied the allegations but said that he wasn’t willing to continue to put his family under the scrutiny of the media’s coverage of the alleged incident.

With a chance for a new beginning, the U golf team of 2004-2005 will not feature any of the same starting players from last year’s group. Several of the golfers from the 2003-2004 squad graduated, while Casey Fowles, who emerged as one of the top Utes at the end of the spring season, was planning to transfer to another school at the end of the school year.

One thing seems clear: McCracken has his work cut out for him as he begins the reconstruction of the U golf team.

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