The West Virginia University men’s golf program officially teed off Tuesday afternoon.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck introduced Sean Covich as the school’s head coach of a program that has been dormant since 1982. Covich’s hiring was announced by the school last week.
“Obviously building a men’s golf program here is going to take a lot of work and a lot of patience,” Luck said before introducing Covich.
The 34-year-old Covich is charged with rejevunating a program that hasn’t existed at WVU in 32 years. The Mountaineers played golf from 1933-82.
“That’s the real story to me,” Covich said in the opening lines of Tuesday’s news conference. “It’s not Sean Covich, it’s that Mountaineer golf is back.”
West Virginia can begin play in 2015. Until then, Covich will build a program from scratch.
“It’s all about West Virginia reestablishing the men’s program,” Covich said. “Obviously there’s lot of questions concerning where we’re going to practice, what are we going to do. We won’t have a team until 2015. I’ve got checklists of 300 things I want to get done.
“I’m going to exercise some patience and build this thing the right way. My first goal is to get out recruit. I’m actually going to get out and do that this week and this weekend and the weekend after that.”
Covich believes the Big 12 Conference will get the WVU men’s golf program on the right track quickly. This past season, the league had three teams in the top 16 of the national rankings (Oklahoma State at No. 4, Texas at No. 12 and Oklahoma at No. 16).
“As far as men’s golf here at West Virginia, the timing could not be better with the partnership with the Big 12,” Covich said. “The Big 12 Conference set the standard for men’s golf when you talk about Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma. They have set the standard for men’s golf.
“For us to join the Big 12, that’s instantly going to really pique some interest from recruits. It does not get any better than that.”
Covich is a native of Meridian, Miss. He helped elevate Meridian Community College from a National Junior College Association of America Division II program to an NJCAA Division I team. MCC finished as the national runner-up in its second season at the NJCAA Division I level, and the program was ranked No. 1 nationally during Covich’s five-year stint with the program.
Most recently, he spent three seasons as an assistant at Mississippi State.
The reintroduction of men’s golf at WVU will satisfy the Big 12 Conference requirement of an athletic program having a minimum of six men’s and six women’s sports.