SPRINGFIELD, Ohio— After 10 years at the helm of both the men's and women's golf programs at Wittenberg, Jeff Roope was named head men's golf coach at the University of Toledo, a NCAA Division I institution, on Thursday, July 6.
Roope guided the Tigers to the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championship, the first in the sport for Wittenberg, as well as back-to-back third place national finishes in 2015 and 2016.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed being the head golf coach at Wittenberg University. What our student athletes have been able to accomplish over the course of a decade far exceeded my expectations and hopefully has made our alumni, Family, and friends tremendously proud. I am forever grateful for the support of tigers of the past and present and look forward to seeing what the future holds for these two amazing golf programs," said Roope.
The Tigers' success on the national stage did not stop with the men's program, as the women's program put together three straight top-three finishes at the NCAA National Championships between 2015 and 2017 under Roope's tutelage.
Seniors Garrett Brickley and Macy Hubbard both finished as runners-up for individual medalist honors at the 2017 NCAA Championships, marking the third consecutive second-place finish for Hubbard.
"I want to thank Jeff for all that he has done for our student athletes over his 10 years as our men's and women's golf coach. Jeff created a culture for our athletes to succeed on and off the course at the highest levels, and we will forever be grateful to him for his contributions to our athletic department and University. We wish him and his family the very best in this next phase of his coaching career," said Director of Athletics Gary Williams.
After taking over the Wittenberg golf programs in 2007, Roope turned both Tiger teams into perennial contenders for conference championships and NCAA Division III Tournament bids. The men's team made big strides in his first two years, moving up quickly from fourth place in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC); both teams have also re-written the school record books for team and individual scoring.
The breakthrough for the men's team took place in 2010, starting an eight-year run atop the NCAC. Wittenberg advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, finishing sixth, 21st, seventh, 13th, fifth, third, third and first, respectively. Roope was also named NCAC Men's Golf Coach of the Year seven times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017), and he added Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year accolades on four occasions (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Individually, Tiger men's players won the NCAC's Bob Nye Award as the conference's individual medalist six straight years, with Craig Osterbrock becoming the program's first All-American in nearly 20 years with back-to-back awards in 2010 and 2011. Other individuals who earned All-America recognition included David Wetterich in 2012, Alex Andrews in 2013, 2014 and 2015, John Chaney in 2014 and 2015, Ben Hogenkamp in 2014, Garrett Brickley in 2016 and 2017, Sam Geise and Isaac Hartley in 2016, and Sam Stilwell in 2015 and 2017.
Roope also owns two Great Lakes Region Women's Coach of the Year awards as the Tiger women have rapidly ascended over the same time period, ranking in the top 25 nationally at the conclusion of seven straight seasons, starting in 2010-11. After taking second place in three of the first four NCAC Tournaments, Roope guided the team to its first league title in 2015. Roope then guided the Tigers to the brink of a national championship in the program's first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament appearance as Wittenberg finished second in the nation in 2015. The Tigers would follow up this performance with back-to-back third place finishes at the NCAA National Championships in 2016 and 2017.
Jane Hopkinson-Wood and Hubbard have paced the Tigers under Roope's tenure, as Hopkinson-Wood has been named a First Team All-American in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and Hubbard in 2016 and 2017.
Before making the jump to the NCAA's Division I ranks, Roope helped Wittenberg secure 70 team championships, 67 all-conference accolades, 48 individual medalist honors, 31 Academic All-Scholar Awards, 22 All-Americans, 11 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championships, 10 league medalist recipients, seven NCAC Player of the Year honorees, and two Academic All-Americans over the last decade.
"I would be remiss if I didn't mention the tremendous support and guidance offered by my assistant coach of 10 years Andy Bonar. Coach 'B' is one of the best in the business. A special thanks to Pat Clouse and Garnett Purnell who gave me a chance to be a part of the Wittenberg community a decade ago, I will be forever grateful. Finally, a thank you to all those student athletes and their families who put their trust in our program to guide them as Tigers and allowed us to be a small part of an experience that will last for the rest of their life. It was an honor for me. Tiger Up!" concluded Roope.
Andy Bonar will serve as the point of contact for both the men's and the women's program in light of Coach Roope's departure.