Aug. 26, 2004
Detroit - UDM athletic director Brad Kinsman gave the title of Director of Golf to Mark Engel, who for the last 14 seasons has been head coach of the Titan men's team and also laid the foundation for the new Detroit women's program which begins play next month. In turn, two of Engel's former captains, Luke LaFave and Cam Smith, have been named associate head coaches of the men's and women's teams, respectively.
LaFave has been the Titans' assistant coach for the last two years while Smith was a co-captain of the 2004 squad.
"Men's golf has been one our most successful sports over the last 10 years under Mark's leadership. At the same time, he has done a good job getting our new women's program started. It's good to have him in a position to oversee both of our teams now," Kinsman said. "We're proud to have two former Titans as associate coaches with him. Luke and Cam understand the game of golf. More importantly, they're people who understand our mission as a University. I know they'll do a great job in molding our student-athletes and helping them reach their potential in both important areas."
Engel and the Titans have won three men's conference championships in the last six years and they advanced to the NCAA Division I Regionals in 2001 and again in 2002. Engel has twice been named league Coach of the Year and his teams have won 11 different tournament championships and produced 12 individual medalists. All told, he has coached nine different all-conference golfers as well as UDM's first two GCAA All-America Scholars.
"Especially with the demands of a second team, I can't think of a better way to fill out the golf staff than with people like Luke and Cam, who have invested so much of themselves in our golf program over the years. They have been true Titans in every sense of the word," Engel said. "Luke has been an incredibly valuable right hand man the last two years and it's only right that we reward him with a new title and greater responsibilities. Cam knows what the 'Titan Way' is all about in golf along with the academic side, and I'm sure he's going to help get our new women's team off the ground this year in a positive way."
LaFave has been central figure in Detroit's golf success. He played on all three of Engel's championship teams and was the Horizon League individual runner-up as a senior. He was a two-time All-America Scholar and received the 2002 President's Award as UDM's most outstanding male senior student-athlete. LaFave turned professional in 2003 and has played on the Great Lakes Tour each of the last two summers.
"I'm really happy to be able to give back to the team that has given me so much," LaFave said. "I've enjoyed coaching the last two years and I'm looking forward to my new responsibilities. My goal will always be to help us carry on our winning tradition."
Smith spent the last two years on the Titans' active roster following his transfer to UDM. He played regularly as a senior and was a member of the 2004 Horizon League Academic Honor Roll. During the last five years, he has twice qualified for the Michigan Open and for the Michigan Amateur on three occasions. Earlier, he was the captain of Grosse Ile (MI) High School's first state championship team.
"I'm excited about this opportunity to stay a part of the Titan golf program," Smith said. "We have a number of talented players on the women's roster and I'm looking forward to helping the new team take its first steps. We'll take it step by step, but I think we'll be up and running in no time."
Both of the Titan golf teams will open their 2004-05 schedules at invitationals hosted by Bowling Green, the men on Sept. 13-14, and the women Sept. 18-19.