Auburn head coach Nick Clinard remincises on 50 career wins with the Tigers
07 Apr 2024
by Justin Golba of AmateurGolf.com

Auburn men's head coach Nick Clinard
Auburn men's head coach Nick Clinard

Nick Clinard knows a few things about winning golf tournaments.

The Auburn men's head coach has won an incredible 61 collegiate golf tournaments, including No. 50 now with the Tigers. He has also won 11 in the last two seasons. 

Clinard is in his 23rd season as a head coach and his 15th with the Tigers. He has been with the Tigers since 2009 and was with the University of Central Florida from 2001 to 2009.

However, Clinard is quick to give all the credit to the culture of the program, set by the players.

“I just think back at all the great players and the guys that have made this program great,” Clinard said. “It isn’t about me. It is about them. It is about what they have been able to accomplish.”

Clinard added, “doing the right things every day, working hard, and having a high passion for the game. Every time they go on the road to represent the brand, their families, and each other.”

Clinard has coached 44 all-region selections, 47 all-conference selections, and 17 All-Americans and has recorded 17 NCAA Regional appearances and 11 NCAA Division I Championship appearances. The 2017-18 Auburn men’s golf team produced its best finish in program history when it tied for third in the country at the NCAA Championships.

“It is a lot of wins, but we don’t talk about wins a lot,” Clinard said. “We talk about culture and standards, and we have had enough guys over the last 15 years who have bought into that. I am just super proud of all the guys I have coached.”

Clinard credits the recent success to how connected the team is and always has been from day one.

“Incredible connectivity,” Clinard said about what makes this team successful. “I think the more connected you are, the more committed you are, and when you have a shared vision, you have a shared purpose. They have a great brotherhood and that bond. It is fun to see as a coach.” 

Since he took over at Auburn, they have accomplished things that have never been done at the program and dealt with circumstances far out of their control, like COVID-19.

"It's been a whirlwind. The kids stay the same age, but I keep getting older," Clinard said with a laugh.

"We have been blessed," Clinard said. "We have great support from the university and the administration and have great players and great facilities. When you have time to reflect and look back on what we did in 2017-18 and what we accomplished with winning the SEC, it is all about the players. They are brought into the stands of the Program, they work hard, and we have been lucky enough to be the right guys for Auburn."

The Tigers' talent depth has also helped over the past two seasons.

“We have a lot of depth,” Clinard said. “Iron Sharpens iron, as the Bible says, and the guys push each other every day. They are so competitive with each other every day that they are the closest friends off the golf course.”

And the leadership of the veterans has kept the train moving forward at full steam, along with top players like Jackson Koivun, Brendan Valdes, and J.M. Butler. Valdes is ranked No. 16, Butler is ranked No. 18, and Koivun is ranked No. 23 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com U.S. Rankings.

“We have great leadership,” Clinard said. “Alex Vogelsong is our leader. He has done a fabulous job leading these young people, and he is going to be a leader and winner in life no matter what he does.”

Vogelsong won the 2022 Florida State Amateur.  

After 23 years of coaching and many lessons learned, coach Clinard knows that team spirit, passion, and friendships are more important than anything else.

“I've learned a lot,” Clinard said. “I think I learn something new every day. Some people teach me something new every time. I am always trying to learn.”

Clinard added, “I have learned that team connectivity and team culture are vital. I've learned that the harder the guys compete, and if you get guys who have a high motor and passion for the game, you are probably going to be successful.” 

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