As the Ohio State men’s golf team plays in the Big Ten championships this weekend in East Lansing, Mich., their leader, head coach Jim Brown, has a chance to put another feather into his cap an 18th Big Ten title.
Since his arrival at Ohio State 35 years ago, Brown has put together the most impressive resume in the illustrious history of the Buckeye golf program. Along with his 17 Big Ten titles, Brown led the Buckeyes to the 1979 NCAA Championship and has finished in the Top 10 of the NCAAs on 11 occasions. The Big Ten championship, however, is the goal from the outset of the season.
“We feel that winning the conference puts us in the top tier (of teams) in the country,” Brown said. “If you win the Big Ten, you had a heck of a year.”
That being said, Brown, by his own measure, has had a lot of great years. He was the man behind what is the most impressive string of success in conference history, when his teams won an astounding 16 conference titles and had eight runner-up finishes in a 25-year period from 1973 to 1998.
During those years, Ohio State had three winning streaks: five-consecutive from 1976-79, six-consecutive from 1982-87 and three-consecutive from 1995-97. The Buckeyes also made the NCAA tournament every year during the streak, winning a national championship in 1979. In 1985, Clark Burroughs won the NCAA championship as an individual, the only Ohio State player to accomplish that feat under Brown.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have some great players,” said Brown. “With the support staff and administration, we are able to recruit outstanding players.”
Brown is no stranger to what it feels like to compete for a Big Ten golf title, either. From 1963-65, he was on the other side of the ropes playing as a Buckeye golfer. He also played on the Ohio State men’s basketball team while he was a Buckeye.
Among his many accolades, Brown is currently the winngest active coach in the NCAA. He has 5,690 wins in his time as the Buckeyes head coach and has been named the conference’s coach of the year three times, an award that originated in 1988, and national coach of the year in 1979 and ’86. His greatest personal achievement, though, came in 1989 when he was elected to the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.
Eighteen PGA TOUR players have been groomed under Brown, including the likes of John Cook, Joey Sindelar and Chris Smith.
“It really makes your job easier when you get guys of that caliber,” said Brown.
While Brown has had unparalleled success with his teams on the course, the classroom has been another area of team achievements. Only four players in Brown’s time at Ohio State have failed to graduate during their eligibility. That in itself is a remarkable achievement.
“Our program has been extremely successful in this regard (of graduating players) over the years in that almost every member has received a diploma,” Brown said. “I am as proud of this record as I am of the record our team has established playing golf.”
Going into this year’s conference championship, Ohio State is once again among the best of the Big Ten. If the Buckeyes do come up victorious, it will probably come as no surprise to the other coaches to see Brown in a place he has spent almost half of his career in at the Big Ten championships: the winner’s circle.
Written by Kyle Rowland, Ohio State Athletics Communications