John Handrigan, the 2015 national assistant coach of the year, was named head men’s golf coach at the University of Notre Dame on July 7, 2017. Handrigan brings head coaching experience and time as an associate head coach at the highest level of collegiate men’s golf to the Fighting Irish program.
This past year, Coach Handrigan raised the program to new heights:
- Not only did the 2019-20 squad break the program record for tournaments won with four, but they also did so in the first five tournaments – all in the fall (the previous record was three for an entire season). The Irish won the Badger Invitational, Windon Memorial, Fighting Irish Classic and Quail Valley Collegiate. The Irish were also the first Division I squad to win four tournament titles this season.
- The Irish also finished in the top-three at the Inverness Intercollegiate and Colleton River Collegiate. All-in-all, Notre Dame went an impressive 83-12-1.
- The Irish earned their first top-10 rankings in all three major polls (Golfweek, Golfstat and the GCAA poll) for the first time in the modern era. Notre Dame reached as high as No. 5 in the country. With the season cut short due to Covid-19, the Irish ultimately finished at No. 17 in the GCAA poll, No. 20 in Golfstat and No. 24 in Golfweek.
- The 2019-20 squad shattered the program record for season stroke average with 282.26 strokes per round.
- Coach Handrigan produced two individual winners for the first time in his Notre Dame career. Palmer Jackson won the Quail Valley Collegiate, while John Felitto took the Colleton River Collegiate crown.
- Speaking of individual performances, Hunter Ostrom recorded the lowest season stroke average in program history with his 70.68 strokes/round. In fact, four Irish golfers finished in the program’s all-time top-10 for season stroke average with Palmer Jackson claiming the No. 2 spot.
- Four different Irish golfers landed in the program’s top-eight for 54-hole tournament scores, including three in the top-four:
- Palmer Jackson, -16
- Taichi Kho, -14
- Hunter Ostrom, -11
- Davis Lamb, -9
- Notre Dame’s 43-under par win at the Quail Valley Collegiate shattered the program’s 54-hole scoring record by 21 strokes. In addition, the Irish fired off a second round 18-under par, which set a new program low round.
- Ultimately the 2019-20 squad placed three 54-hole tournament scores in the program’s top-seven. They also recorded four of the five lowest team rounds in program history.
- The Irish also had three U.S. Amateur qualifiers with Palmer Jackson making a run to the quarterfinals.
In the first year at the helm, Coach Handrigan led the Irish to their lowest team stroke average (286.25) in over three decades, and improved it by three strokes from the year prior. Notre Dame won the 2017 Fighting Irish Classic with a score of 18-under par. In addition, the Irish shattered the team’s best ACC Championships performance by 27 strokes, finishing 19 strokes under par (845) – also earning their best finish of sixth place. Lastly, Davis Lamb, Kevin Conners, Miguel Delgado, Hunter Ostrom and John Felitto all improved their season stroke average under Coach Handrigan.
In year two, the Irish averaged a 288.09 and finished four tournaments under-par along with two top-three showings: second at Northern Intercollegiate and third at The Schenkel. Furthermore, the Irish had an impressive nine golfers on the All-ACC Academic Honor Roll list. Individually, the Irish boasted two Ping Division I All-Midwest Team representatives in Miguel Delgado and Davis Chatfield, marking the first time in program history. The Irish also had multiple U.S. Amateur qualifiers in back-to-back years under Coach Handrigan (2018 & 2019).
Speaking of Delgado, the senior had a banner year, becoming the first NCAA Regional qualifier since 2014. Delgado posted a top-five all-time season stroke average with a 71.4. In addition, Hunter Ostrom became the first medalist winner since 2014 when he won the Northern Intercollegiate, and John Felitto broke the then 54-hole program record with a 200 (-13) at the Fighting Irish Classic. Next, Alex Jamieson broke the Warren Golf Course record on Oct. 1, 2018, when he carded a 62.
“After an extensive national search, John stood out as the clear choice to lead our men’s golf program into the future,” said Notre Dame vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick. “His values align with those of Notre Dame Athletics and John’s experience as a collegiate athlete and coach give us confidence that he can return our program to national prominence. We are thrilled to welcome John and his wife Leigh to the Notre Dame Family.”
“I’m humbled and honored to become the head men’s golf coach at Notre Dame,” said Handrigan. “I have an incredible amount of respect for Notre Dame’s values, history, and tradition. I’m thankful for the opportunity to join such a prestigious University that provides the ultimate academic and athletic experience for its student-athletes. I want to thank Notre Dame Athletics Director, Jack Swarbrick and Assistant Athletics Director, Brant Ust for having the confidence in me to lead Notre Dame men’s golf to be an elite program. Both have shown great support for Notre Dame golf with passion and commitment to success.
My wife Leigh and I are excited to join the Notre Dame family. During our visit the entire staff made us feel welcome and at home. Notre Dame definitely lives up to its reputation of being a family oriented university with strong values. I also want to thank the University of Florida for its support during this process. The six years at Florida were filled with great experiences that prepared me for this exceptional opportunity at Notre Dame.”
Handrigan became just the seventh head coach in the 89 years of Irish men’s golf, dating back to the fall of 1929. Notre Dame’s proud golfing tradition includes 37 NCAA postseason appearances highlighted by the 1944 national championship.
Handrigan came to Notre Dame following a six-year tenure at the University of Florida. He served as the Gators’ associate head coach in 2016-17 after spending the previous five years in Gainesville as an assistant coach. That year, Florida won five tournaments and advanced to the NCAA Regionals, raising the Gators’ total to 11 tournament wins during Handrigan’s tenure. He also helped guide Florida to five NCAA Regionals and four NCAA Championship appearances.
Handrigan was awarded the 2015 Jan Strickland Award, emblematic of the national assistant coach of the year as recognized by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Notably, the award honors a coach for his work with student-athletes both on and off of the golf course. Handrigan was a finalist for the award in 2013 as well.
During his time with the Gators, he mentored 10 individual tournament winners, capped off by Alejandro Tosti winning the 2017 SEC Championship. He coached six All-Americans and nine All-SEC selections along with four GCAA All-America Scholars and 29 academic all-SEC selections.
A Bracebridge, Ontario native, Handrigan played collegiately at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He was an All-Northeast Conference selection in 1998 and runner-up at the league’s tournament. Handrigan was the Red Flash’s men’s golf player of the year each of his four seasons and earned the school’s male student-athlete of the year honor as a senior in 2000.
Briefly playing professionally on the Canadian Tour and the Great Lakes Tour, Handrigan began his coaching career at St. Francis, serving as an assistant coach from 2000-03 before taking over the head coaching reigns at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. Handrigan led the Cobras to the Division II NCAA Championship in 2006, four straight NCAA Regionals and a 2006 conference championship. Handrigan was the regional coach of the year in 2006 and conference coach of the year in 2005.
Handrigan went from Coker to Queens University in Charlotte, spending two years there as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s golf teams. He was named the women’s conference coach of the year in 2009. Handrigan returned to the Division I ranks at Kansas, spending the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons with the Jayhawks. Handrigan helped Kansas to a pair of tournament titles and a top-50 national ranking during his time in Lawrence while a pair of Jayhawks made the NCAAs as individuals in 2010 and 2011.
Handrigan earned a pair of degrees from St. Francis, a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2000 and an M.B.A. in 2002.
HANDRIGAN COACHING CAREER
2000-03: St. Francis (Pa.) Assistant Coach
2003-07: Coker College Head Coach
2007-09: Queens University Head Coach (men’s and women’s)
2009-11: University of Kansas Assistant Coach
2011-16: University of Florida Assistant Coach
2016-17: University of Florida Associate Head Coach
2017-: University of Notre Dame Head Coach