After helping to launch the Westmont men’s and women’s golf programs over the last two years, Tom Knecht has decided to step down as head coach at the end of the season.

“I resign as Westmont’s golf coach with mixed emotions,” said Knecht. “I’m very proud to be a part of helping to build a golf program from scratch. I’m also very grateful to all the people who made this possible, from the administration to donors to the players and their parents. Although I will continue to be a part of Westmont Athletics, I will miss my daily interaction with the wonderful players on the team.”

Tom Knecht

Tom Knecht started the golf program at Westmont College in 2019.

Knecht will continue to coach throughout the 2020-21 season. The Warriors are scheduled to next compete at the Angeles National Golf Course in the Sea Beggars Invitational on Feb. 15-16.

He shepherded both the men’s and women’s teams during their inaugural seasons of 2019-20. He was responsible for successfully recruiting the initial roster of golfers and leading them during a rigorous schedule of eight tournaments. 

“I am very excited about the future of Westmont golf,” he said. “Our goal is to be the premier small college golf program in America. Although I am pleased with our progress to date, we need a new coach to take us to the next level. I am confident we will find a Christ-centered coach who can teach the game of golf, but, most of all, will invest in the lives of our student-athletes.”

Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell thanked Knecht or laying the foundation of the golf program. 

“Launching a new sports program requires many hours of hard work, especially in recruiting new students to come to Westmont to study and pursue their athletic passions,” he said. “As a professor, Tom was able to share with recruits not only a love of golf, but also help them understand the academic opportunities available to them at Westmont.”

Odell said Knecht has been an “amazing” resource to the athletics program because of his dual role as a coach and faculty member.

He’ll continue to have a role in the athletics program, especially as it relates to the department providing academic support to athletes.

“I am excited that Tom will play a vital role in helping us secure the resources we need to continue our legacy as one of the elite small college athletic programs in the country,” said Odell. “As a former athlete at Stanford, Tom understands what is required to sustain excellence in the classroom and on the playing field. He will be an invaluable resource for us on many levels.”

Knecht played football at Stanford.

Odell said a search has already started for a new golf coach. 

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Barry Punzal, Noozhawk Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.