April 28, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s golf team, for the first time since the conference established awards three years ago, swept each of the three major accolades, it was announced by the conference on Thursday. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) was named Player of the Year, Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) won Freshman of the Year and head coach Jim Kubinski was named Coach of the Year.
Scodro, the 2011 BIG EAST individual tournament champion, was named BIG EAST Player of the Year on the heels of finishing in the top 10 in seven of his 10 tournaments this season. Along with that, he also led the conference with an overall 73.11 scoring average.
The junior became the first Irish player since 2005 to win the BIG EAST individual title, firing a 54-hole total of 212 (-1) to be the only player in the field to finish under par for the Championship. Scodro, playing as the rotation’s No. 1, helped lead the Irish to their seventh BIG EAST crown and their first since 2006. He is the first Irish player to receive the honor and also found his name on the all-BIG EAST team for the third straight year.
“Max has worked so hard and has such a great passion for this game and for competing. I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier for a player,” said Kubinski. “He was deserving on so many levels. I actually didn’t realize he had the low scoring average in the conference, which is especially impressive when considering the difficulty of the golf courses we played this season. From our opening round on the Ocean Course at Kiawah way back in September until holding out at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course last week, we’ve played a collection of the best and most challenging courses in the country.
“Max has been there for us from opening day, consistently good throughout,” continued Kubinski. “More importantly though, he’s an outstanding young man. It seems we’re always hearing about the failings of, or controversies with, famous athletes or even student-athletes in the news. Having Max earn this honor is a win for everyone who works hard and does things the right way.”
Platt, identical to Scodro, became the first Irish player to win his respective award of Freshman of the Year. He concluded the 2011 BIG EAST Championship as the highest freshman finisher, shooting a three-round score of 218 (+5) to tie for sixth place. Overall, he concluded the regular season with four top-five finishes in 10 tournaments played, and began his first campaign with the Irish with a second place finish at The Invitational of Kiawah. Platt also was the only freshman selected to the all-BIG EAST team.
“It’s rare when a coach can identify one specific moment when they knew they had a player capable of great things,” remarked Kubinski. “I was fortunate to have that moment in our very first event of the season – Niall’s first collegiate tournament. He hit a shot on #17 at Kiawah that I still think back on. It was a pressure shot with nowhere to miss and he executed it with a calm and confidence far beyond his years. It really was a preview of the season he has had, with so many excellent rounds and solid finishes. For a freshman to come in and contend at multiple events both in Fall and Spring, firing rounds like his 65 at Firestone, is phenomenal. Beyond the great play though, Niall has been such a pleasure to coach. He’s a great representative of Notre Dame in so many ways. I’m just thrilled for him. Knowing Niall as I do, I expect this will be a spring board to more success.”
Kubinski led Notre Dame to the 2011 men’s BIG EAST title, his third at the helm of the Irish. Overall, he helped navigate the Irish to seven top-five finishes on the year, including winning the title at the St. Mary’s Invitational, The Battle at the Warren and the BIG EAST Championship. In addition, two of his golfers claimed medalist honors, as Scodro took the BIG EAST title and Tom Usher (Bradford, England) took home the St. Mary’s Invitational crown.
“I’m very appreciative of the honor my peers afforded me today,” recognizes Kubinski. “We have such a fantastic group of extremely dedicated coaches in the BIG EAST, each and every one a class act. To be recognized in this way is an honor. In all honesty though, the Coach of the Year award is really a team award. It’s about our whole program. It means I’ve been blessed to have the support of my wife, Sarah, an understanding family, a talented, hard-working and dedicated group of players, a great assistant coach in Steve Colnitis, an outstanding administrator in Mike Karwoski, who is truly invested in our program and a group of players’ families as supportive as any in college golf. I’m very happy today. I’m also very appreciative of and thankful for the opportunity I have every day to be a part of a special program.”
Along with Scodro and Platt being named to the all-BIG EAST team, junior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) also was named to the squad. The three selections mark the most among any team in the conference with Louisville placing two players on the list.
“It was great to see Chris recognized for not only a very good season but one of the most consistent we’ve had,” stated Kubinski. “He was there in the mix for us most every round. He has worked extremely hard and really is what I would call an emerging player. He has immense talent. He’s improving all the time and yet still has so much room for growth. Chris can be as good as any player, anywhere. I expect he’ll achieve great things moving forward, as he continues to push and gain confidence. He’s another who is a pleasure to coach. He gives everything he has every time out. I’m proud of Chris.”
2011 All-BIG EAST Men's Golf Team:Joe Kastelic, Sr., CincinnatiCurtis Loop, So., GeorgetownKarsten Clements, Sr., LouisvilleJustin Dorward, Jr., LouisvilleKelly Kretz, Sr., MarquetteMax Scodro, Jr., Notre DameChris Walker, Jr., Notre DameNiall Platt, Fr., Notre DamePeter Ballo, So., St. John'sBrandon Park, So., Seton HallRobby Carl, Sr., USFBrian Colbert, Jr., Villanova
BIG EAST Player of the Year:Max Scodro, Notre Dame
BIG EAST Freshman of the Year:Niall Platt, Notre Dame
BIG EAST Coach of the Year:Jim Kubinski, Notre Dame