Eastern Florida’s Floyd Horgen Among America’s Most Successful College Golf Coaches
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // March 29, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Floyd Horgen came to Brevard Junior College, Now Eastern Florida State College, in 1966 to be a basketball coach. When he retired from Brevard Community College in 1993, he left as one of the most successful college golf coaches in the United States.
FLOYD HORGEN – 2012 INDUCTEE
• 7 National Golf Titles
• Developed Numerous PGA Players
• Golf Advocate & Mentor
UNLIKELY GOLF COACH
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Floyd Horgen came to Brevard Junior College in 1966 to be a basketball coach.
When he retired from Brevard Community College in 1993, he left as one of the most successful college golf coaches in the United States.
“I came to Brevard because the head basketball coach (Jim Oler) told me he was leaving the next year,’’ said Horgen, who lives in Bozeman, Montana.
In November 1966, Horgen arrived at the college gymnasium for a game that night. He picked up a program, took a cursory look and found golf coach listed beside his name.
“I had played baseball at Miami for four years and, when I started as the golf coach, I wasn’t that interested,’’ Horgen said.
“Then, I found that this might be a better way to make a living. Most of the basketball coaches I coached against are dead now.’’
Back then, 25 junior colleges fielded teams around the state of Florida. It was a popular sport in a state that was beginning to grow in population.
“I inherited a team that had a best finish of 13th in the state,’’ said Horgen, a native of northern Minnesota who was born in 1936.
“I didn’t know that much about golf. I think we finished fifth in the state my first year and in my second year we were third in the state.’’
Horgen received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in 1959 with a degree in physical education and history. After teaching junior high in Carroll City, he returned to school at Ohio University and earned a master’s degree in physical education and high school administration.
He came back to Florida to teach history and physical education at McArthur High in Hollywood. Then, he got the call from Brevard Junior College.
SEVEN NATIONAL TITLES
Mike Smith was the medalist as Brevard Junior College won its first national title in 1971. Beau Baugh, who later would become the Titans’ golf coach after Horgen retired, also was on that team with Jim Hurt and Eddie Charlton.
“Mike has played on the (PGA) Tour and done nothing but play golf well all these years,’’ Horgen said. “Beau Baugh was the national runner-up for two years.’’
Besides the 1971 title, Butch Girard was the medalist when the Titans prevailed in 1976. Brevard then won in 1977 and 1978 to extend the streak to three consecutive years.
Horgen left Brevard County for three years to coach golfer Hal Sutton at Centenary College from 1979 to 1981. Sutton’s father, a wealthy businessman, coaxed Horgen to leave Brevard with a financial offer that Horgen couldn’t refuse.
The younger Sutton became a standout on the PGA Tour, and three years later, Horgen returned home to BCC.
After Horgen came back in the fall of 1981 for the 1982 spring season, BCC won titles in 1985, 1987 and 1991. Former Satellite High standout Steve Lamontagne was the national medalist in 1985, and went on to play on the PGA Tour.
Merritt Island’s Scott Gump and Orlando’s Louie Mitrovich also earned All-America status as members of a team that might have been Horgen’s best.
“I had so many great players it’s too many to name,’’ Horgen said.
“The most prominent might have been Steve Lamontagne, who’s now director of golf at Suntree Country Club. He was a good athlete with a great attitude who worked hard and loved the game. He loved his teammates and was an all-around winner. It helped that his parents were not golfers.
“A second generation golfer gets too much interference from his father. The third generation golfer is OK because his father knows well enough to leave him alone. He remembers how his father already messed him up.’’
Richard Sadler was Horgen’s last national medalist. He won the event when BCC won the 1991 title for its seventh under Horgen.
CONTINUING TO TEACH IN RETIREMENT
Horgen teaches golf at Riverside Country Club in Bozeman during the summer.
“The basic fundamental is to use the body to swing the golf club,’’ Horgen said. “To hit a golf ball well, you have to let the club accelerate and not be rushed.”
“The basic fundamental is to use the body to swing the golf club,’’ Horgen said. “Rather than try to hit the ball, once you are willng to swing, you can teach the body to swing better.’’
As a former pitcher, he was able to apply some of those mechanics to golf when he began his career as a coach.
“Pitchers make good golfers and hitters not as well,’’ Horgen said.
“To hit a golf ball well, you have to let the club accelerate and not be rushed. Baseball hitters have to be quick, and that’s why pitchers make better golfers. They let the speed build and accelerate as they release it not as quick. The vast majority of hitters try to muscle it and force it.’’
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
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