The Golf program will remain in good hands as Kevin Neitzel '90 has been named the next head golf coach at Saint Ignatius High School. A familiar name to many in the Saint Ignatius community as Neitzel was on the coaching staff of the basketball program for over 20 years and now returns to take the reins of the golf program.
"I am thrilled at the opportunity. I was at Saint Ignatius as an assistant coach with the basketball program and I have missed it," says Neitzel. "For me, it is a way to give back to the school. This school gave me so much guidance and direction, which is a small way to give back."
As a student-athlete at Saint Ignatius, Neitzel was a basketball and golf team member. Neitzel was a three-year letter award winner with the golf program and was a member of the first team to ever qualify for the State Tournament in 1989. Neitzel would continue his basketball career at John Carroll University, where he was a two-year captain and a member of the 1994 OAC Championship team.
"We have been fortunate over the years with our golf coaches. I think Kevin will fit in perfectly; he has coached here for a very long time with basketball and understands the mission of Saint Ignatius," explains Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88. "Kevin is confident and understands the program. He knows this is all about the kids and putting them in the best position to succeed."
Neitzel has an extensive coaching background through his time with the basketball program at Saint Ignatius. He returned to his alma mater in 1994 when he was named the Head Basketball Coach for the freshman squad and would go on to be an assistant coach on Brian Becker's '77 staff. Neitzel would be a part of the 2001 State Championship team, the first title in program history.
"I had some great coaches when I was a student and they were more than coaches; they were mentors and teachers. It was far more than the sport you were playing; it was about the development of being a Man For Others," Neitzel says. "It's about so much more than winning and losing. It's not about me, it's about we and that is something I believe in and what I want to teach these student-athletes."
The golf program is coming off back-to-back State Championships and Neitzel knows that brings added pressure to perform. However, the primary focus for Neitzel as he takes over the program is to make the sport fun for the student-athletes at Saint Ignatius. "Coach Becker taught me that the team is more important than the individual and in golf, that is hard to teach. When you are playing for your high school team, you are playing for the men around you," explains Neitzel. "Coach Becker made the sport fun and gave us confidence; at the end of the day, we want to make it fun for our boys."
PJ Myers '99 was a part of the coaching staff of the golf program for the last eight seasons, with four of them as the Head Golf Coach. He would lead the Wildcats to two State Championships and coach an individual State Champion in Topher Reed '22 and Nicholas Piesen '23. Coach Myers will forever have a home at Saint Ignatius as he dedicates more time to his family.
"PJ did unique things for the program; we were blessed to have had him. He was student-athlete centric and put those kids in the best position to succeed in golf and life," says Fitzpatrick. "PJ is a great example of what we want our coaches to be and we were lucky to have him with Saint Ignatius golf."
Neitzel will look to carry what coach Myers had built within the program and will be just as student-athlete centric. "There aren't a lot of changes that need to be made; PJ did such an amazing job," Neitzel explains. "He has won two straight State Championships and we will look to build off those successes."