Spring season highlighted by Bobcats hosting Mid-American Conference Championships May 3-5
Bob Cooley, a Bobcat golfer from 1968-71 and the head coach of the men's program since 1988, was promoted to Director of Golf in Sept. 2002, assuming administrative and coaching duties for both the men's and women's teams at Ohio. His day-to-day coaching responsibilities remain with the men's squad.
Under Cooley's guidance, the Bobcat men have shown a resurgence over the better part of the last decade. In 1999-00, Ohio posted six top-five finishes, while placing in the top half of the field in nine of its 12 tournaments. That success continued in 2001-02, as Erik Herberth enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history, winning two tournaments during the fall and receiving a bid to the NCAA Central Regional as an individual.
At the 2002 Mid-American Conference Championship, Herberth placed seventh and Jeff Chadwell led the Bobcats with a fourth-place finish as Ohio took runner-up honors, the team's best performance since winning the league title in 1980. Cooley was named MAC Coach of the Year for his efforts, while Herberth took home first-team All-MAC honors.
With three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, Cooley guided the 2003-04 men's squad to another second-place finish at the MAC Championship. Ohio entered the final round only one stroke off the lead, and had a different freshman post the team's lowest score in each of the tournament's three rounds.
Led by that same trio, now sophomores, the Bobcats produced five top-five performances in 2004-05. Ryan Siekmann earned second-team All-MAC honors after finishing with a 73.96 scoring average, the fourth-best in program history at the time.
Cooley protege Mark Cimarolli topped that mark with a 73.69 average in 2005-06, capturing the individual medal at the BIG EAST/MAC Challenge along the way. His play landed him on the All-MAC second team that season.
Led by second-team All-MAC selection Chad Warmbein, the 2008-09 Bobcats won the season-opening Piper Intercollegiate by a half dozen strokes and took fourth at the MAC Championship in Indianapolis with a total of 1,183 - the third-best 72-hole score in program history. Ohio had three players earn MAC Golfer of the Week honors during the campaign, including freshman John Mlynarski, who tied for first at the Piper before falling in a playoff for the individual medal.
Cooley's Bobcat men have excelled in the classroom, as well. Under his direction, 10 Ohio men have been named GCAA All-America Scholars. Additionally, Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released in 2008 showed that the Ohio men's golf team posted a 997 APR (out of 1,000) in the four academic years from 2003-04 to 2006-07 - a figure that ranks in the top 10 percent of all Division I athletic teams and stands more than 30 points above the Division I men's golf average.
The men's program at Ohio took fifth place at the 2009-10 MAC Championships and followed this up with a ninth-place result at the 2010-11 Championships.
Ohio turned in its best MAC finish in eight years during the 2011-12 season, finishing in third place with a three-round score of 896. Cooley's senior leader, Paul Grauer, was named Second Team All-MAC following his tremendous season.
Before assuming head coaching duties with the Ohio men, Cooley assisted former head coach Kermit Blosser, many times traveling with the team. While playing for the Bobcats, he was a member of two MAC championship teams.
Along with being familiar with Bobcat golf, Cooley is no stranger to the Athens area. He graduated from Athens High School in 1966 and enrolled at Ohio University to pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration.
After graduating in 1971, Cooley served as an assistant golf professional at Village Country Club in Uniontown, Ohio. His next endeavor took him to the Candian professional tour in 1973, where he competed in nine tournaments.
In 1977, Cooley was reinstated to the amateur ranks by the United States Golf Association. He played in the 1978 and 1980 U.S. Amateur Championships in Plainfield, N.J., and Pinehurst, N.C., respectively.
He is married to former Nannette Borkowski of Westlake, Ohio, and the couple has a daughter, Brynn.