After building up the Glendale Community College men's and women's teams and leading each to appearances in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Golf Championship, Greg Osbourne resigned his post as coach to become Cal State Bakersfield's director of golf.
Osbourne recently accepted the position with Bakersfield and will replace the retiring Dave Barber, effective June 6. He will coach both programs at Bakersfield, which will be joining the Western Athletic Conference next season.
Osbourne built the Glendale college men's program from the ground up when the program was reinstated in 2008 after being suspended in 1985, culminating with an appearance in the state tournament in 2011. He took over the women's golf program from Kirt Kohlmeier in 2010 and the Vaqueros found plenty of success statewide. Tammy Panich won the state's individual championship in 2010 and the Vaqueros finished second in the state tournament in 2011 and 2012.
However, the opportunity to move to the Division I level left Osbourne, a former men's golfer at Glendale college and a 1976 Hoover High graduate, intrigued.
"It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but, if it weren't for GCC and the support I have received here, I wouldn't be going to Bakersfield with this opportunity," said Osbourne, who piloted the women's team to Western State Conference championships in 2011 and 2012 and is a member of the Professional Golfers' Assn. "We were able to have a lot of great players come through GCC the last few years and we shared a lot of success.
"I owe a lot to the people across the board at GCC. Now, I have an opportunity to go out there and recruit players from around the country and world and sell them on Bakersfield. I want to eventually win a national championship."
The women's team nearly won a state championship in 2011, but came up one stroke short.
Glendale's men's team finished tied for third in conference this season, but missed out on qualifying for the Southern California Regionals. The Vaqueros did send sophomore Jin Park to the Southern California Regionals in the individual competition.
Park, a Burbank High graduate, said he thrived learning from Osbourne and indicated he might follow Osbourne to Bakersfield.
"I really just respect him as a coach and am thankful for showing me the ropes and improving," Park said. "He's enthusiastic and supportive about the teams he's coaching.
"He's helped me with strategy and how to plan playing different holes. I'd like to go there and play for him."
Glendale men's Athletic Director John Cicuto said Osbourne, who captured the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District III individual championship in 1984 while at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and picked up All-American honors, raised the bar for both programs.
"How awesome is that to get both of our teams to state in such a short period of time?," said Cicuto, who added that a search for a new coach will likely begin shortly. "He was a great fit for us and did a fabulous job at fundraising.
"We are really going to miss him here, but it's a great opportunity for him to be able to go to the next level. We love to see our coaches move up, and it's especially hard to do at the Division I level. I'm excited about him going there."
Bakersfield's men's team competed in the America Sky Conference in recent seasons and the women's squad was a member of the West Coast Conference last season.
The WAC will include New Mexico State, Seattle University, Idaho, Chicago State, Utah Valley, University of Texas Pan American and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Osbourne said the Roadrunners will have the ability to recruit nationwide.
"Bakersfield has great facilities and great courses," Osbourne said. "We will be playing in a big-time conference. The town is getting bigger."
Ziggy Siegfried, the university's senior associate athletic director overseeing both golf programs, said Osbourne met the requirements to fill the position.
"Greg is coming in at a great time and will be a very good fit for each program," Siegfried said. "We think he can come in here and start competing for conference titles and keep growing the programs.
"He's passionate, very enthusiastic and has that drive to take our golf program to the next level in Division I."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun