In 34 years of coaching, University of Florida men's golf head coach Buddy Alexander has made significant contributions to enhance not only the Gator program, but college golf as a whole. Alexander's experience and success are the main reason why top recruits throughout the world come to Gainesville every year to play for Florida. Alexander’s accomplishments are so revered that he has already earned a spot in the Golf Coaches’ Association of America's Hall of Fame.
A two-time All-American as a collegiate golfer, Alexander graduated from Georgia Southern in 1975 and later collected several amateur titles. Two years after earning his bachelor's degree in recreation, he won the 1977 Eastern Amateur Championship. In 1986, he won the U.S. Amateur Championship and was a member of the World Cup Team. The following year, he represented the U.S. in the Walker Cup. Success continued for Alexander in the 1990s, as he captured medalist honors at the Florida State Amateur.
Alexander has taken his success on the golf course and implemented it in his coaching career. Since arriving in Gainesville in January 1988, he has guided the Gators to seven top-five finishes in NCAA Championships play and eight Southeastern Conference team titles. He has been the architect for two of Florida's four national titles, claiming the first in 1993 and the second in 2001, as well as NCAA runner-up finishes in 1990 and 2006. In his time at the University of Florida, Alexander has also coached an NCAA individual champion, a U.S. Amateur Champion, 57 All-Americans, 10 SEC individual champions (including three two-time winners) and a Ben Hogan Award winner in Matt Every.
In 2011-12, Alexander led the Gators to a trio of victories, the 77th, 78th and 79th victories during his tenure at UF, the most of any coach in the nation. Additionally, the Orange and Blue advanced to their 12th consecutive NCAA Championship, the longest active streak in the nation.
2010-11 was an impressive season for Alexander and the Gators as they captured their first SEC Championship since the 2003 and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 11th consecutive season. Florida also recorded victories in four additional tournaments, including its ninth-consecutive Gator Invitational and the NCAA Southeast Regional.
For the season, the Gators were led by seniors Bank Vongvanij, who was the individual medalist at a trio of tournaments (Isleworth Invitational, JU Invitational and Schenkel Ivitational) and Andres Echavarria, who earned medalist honors at the Gator Invitational and the SEC Championship. In addition to Vongvanij and Echavarria, Phillip Choi became the third Gator to earn medalist honors when he captured the title at the John Hayt Invitational.
Thanks to their strong season on the course in 2010-11, the Gators were well represented in the national and conference awards. Alexander was named SEC Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his career. Vongvanij became the fifth golfer under Alexander to be named SEC Player of the Year. Vongvanij was also named a First Team All-SEC selection along with teammates Echavarria and Choi. On the national level, Vongvaij (first team), Choi (second team) and Echavarria (third team) became the 50th, 51st and 52nd All-Americans in the history of the UF program.
For the 10th consecutive season, the Gators earned the privilege to play at the NCAA Championships in 2010 when they finished in third place at the NCAA Central Regional. The trip to Ooltewah, Tenn., marked the 23rd time in Alexander’s 24 years at the helm that Florida advanced to the final tournament of the season. The upperclassmen led the way for Florida in 2009-10, as seniors Tyson Alexander (Buddy’s son) and Tim McKenney led the Gators in almost every statistical category and were named to the All-SEC first and second teams, respectively. The duo joined redshirt junior Echavarria and junior Vongvanij on the PING Division I All-Region Team. Alexander and Echavarria both earned the first individual tournament wins of their career and the Gators finished first at both of their home tournaments.
The Gators had eight top-five finishes on the season, including two tournament wins in 2009-10. They defended their title at the Gator Invitational for the seventh-straight year and also won the inaugural Golden Ocala Collegiate. Tyson Alexander earned honorable mention All-America accolades and was named a first team All-SEC selection. McKenney earned second-team All-SEC honors and Phillip Choi was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. In addition, Vongvanij was named the 2010 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
In 2008-09, Florida finished 19th in the NCAA Championships and third at the SEC Championships. The Gators had eight top-five finishes on the season, including three tournament wins. They defended their title at the Gator Invitational for the sixth straight year and won the inaugural Golden Ocala Collegiate. Senior Billy Horschel earned first-team All-America honors for the third time, and joined Gary Koch as the only two Gators to earn first-team All-SEC honors four times. Horschel was also named the SEC Golfer of the Year for the second time after winning the individual medalist honors at the SEC Championship and leading the SEC with a 71.28 stroke average. Tyson Alexander and McKenney were named to the All-Southeast Region team for 2009, and McKenney earned second-team All-SEC honors. The Gators also continued to succeed in the classroom, having eight players named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
During the 2007-08 campaign, Alexander directed the Gators to an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. UF had 10 top-five finishes out of the 14 tournaments it played. For the fifth year in a row, Florida won its home tournament, the SunTrust Gator Invitational, blowing away the field by 12 strokes. Horschel was named a first-team All-SEC performer, while Tyler Brown and Manuel Villegas were named to the All-SEC second-team. Horschel was also named a second-team All-American and Villegas was given honorable mention All-American recognition.
The 2006-07 season saw Alexander lead a young Gator squad to a tie for ninth at the NCAA Championships, earning the 28th top-10 national finish in program history. UF won a pair of tournaments during the year, reaching the top spot in the polls at one point along the way, Horschel and Villegas combined to earn three individual medals under Alexander’s guidance. Horschel, who won the PING/Golfweek Preview Invitational and tied for first at the NCAA East Regional, earned Florida’s fourth-ever SEC Player of the Year honor – all of which have come with Alexander at the helm. The fact that the Gators played Golfweek’s top-ranked schedule in 2006-07 makes Alexander’s coaching during the campaign all the more impressive.
A 2002 inductee into the GCAA Hall of Fame, Alexander directed one of the greatest seasons in Gator golf history in 2005-06. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native led a Florida team that finished first or second in 10 of 13 tournaments, including four wins, en route to a second-place showing at the NCAA Championships. The Gators also had four players – seniors Matt Every, Brett Stegmaier and James Vargas and then-freshman Horschel – earn PING All-America honors.
Under Alexander’s direction in 2003-04, the Gators were a major force on the national scene once again, winning seven times in 14 tournaments and never finishing outside the top-six in any event during the season. The squad tied a school record by placing in the top-five in 13 straight tournaments to begin the season, and later posted the 26th top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships in school history by tying for sixth. Florida was also ranked No.1 in the nation for almost the entire season in every poll and ranking.
For all of the Gators’ success in ‘03-04, Alexander earned his fourth National Coach of the Year honor from the GCAA. In addition, he was honored as both the SEC Coach of the Year and as the GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Overall, Alexander has hauled in 19 Coach of the Year awards in his storied career, including an impressive 17 while at the helm of the Gators. He has received the GCAA Coach of the Year award three times, three NCAA District 3 Coach of the Year Awards, five NCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year awards and eight SEC Coach of the Year awards.
Alexander has guided golf programs at Georgia Southern, LSU and Florida, producing 26 top-15 NCAA finishes in 33 years. He has totaled 85 tournament victories at LSU and Florida, with his players earning 61 All-America honors and 77 All-SEC selections.
Alexander's coaching career began when he returned to his alma mater, Georgia Southern, in 1977, to accept the position of head men's golf coach. In his four years with the Eagles, he produced four NCAA Championships appearances, highlighted by a seventh-place finish in 1980. In 1979, he was named NCAA District 3 Co-Coach of the Year. While in Statesboro, Alexander coached three future PGA Tour members, including winners Mike Donald and Jodie Mudd. He also found the time to earn his master's degree in educational administration from GSU in 1980.
Alexander left the coaching ranks to compete on the professional tour that year, but returned in 1983 after he accepted the head coaching position at LSU. In only his second year, Alexander led the Tigers to a second-place finish at the SEC Championship and sixth place at the NCAA Championships. For his efforts, Alexander was named the 1984 NCAA District 3 Coach of the Year.
In 1986, he was voted SEC Co-Coach of the Year after the Tigers' first-place finish at the SEC Championships, a title the team successfully defended in 1987. While in Baton Rouge, Alexander coached four All-Americans and 11 future members of the professional tour, including PGA Tour champion David Toms.
Alexander regained his amateur status in 1986 and won the U.S. Amateur Championship, the third-oldest golf title in the world. He is still the only active coach to have won the most esteemed tournament in amateur golf. Following the 1987 season at LSU, Alexander briefly left coaching to work for a Cleveland-based sports management firm before arriving at Florida.
Alexander returned to his home state in January 1988 to accept the position of head men's golf coach at UF. Since then, he has established the Gator golf program as a top contender in both the SEC and the nation. Florida captured the SEC Championship in just his second season, leading to his attaining the 1989 NCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year award. The following year, he led the Gators to runner-up finishes at both the SEC Championships and the NCAA Championships.
From 1991-94, Alexander's Gators dominated the SEC, winning four consecutive conference championships. In 1991, he was named SEC Coach of the Year, and later guided UF to the 1993 NCAA Championship, the program's first crown since 1973. For his efforts, he achieved the double of taking home the SEC and GCAA Coach of the Year. In 2001, Alexander claimed his second NCAA title while guiding senior Nick Gilliam to Florida's second individual national golf championship.
At Florida, Alexander has coached 24 members of the professional tour, including tournament winners Chris DiMarco, Dudley Hart and Camilo Villegas. During his career, he has mentored 38 professional tour members, and eight have been winners on the tour.
THE ALEXANDER FILE
Full Name: Stewart Murray Alexander
Date of Birth: Feb. 20, 1953
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Began at Florida: January of 1988 (26th season)
College: Georgia Southern University (1975, B.S., Recreation), Georgia Southern University (1980, M.A., Educational Administration)
Playing Experience: 1974 and 1975 All American, 1977 Eastern Amateur Champion, 1986 U.S. Amateur Champion, 1986 World Cup Team, 1987 United States Walker Cup Team
Coaching Experience: Head Coach, Georgia Southern 1977-80; Head Coach, LSU 1983-87; Head Coach, Florida January 1988-Present
Coaching Honors: 1979 NCAA District 3 Co-Coach of the Year… 1984 NCAA District 3 Coach of the Year… 1986 SEC Co-Coach of the Year… 1989 NCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year… 1991 SEC Coach of the Year… 1992 NCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year… 1993 Golfweek National Coach of the Year… 1993 GCAA Coach of the Year… 1993 SEC Coach of the Year… 1994 SEC Coach of the Year… 1999 SEC Coach of the Year… 1999 District 3 South Coach of the Year… 2001 GCAA National Coach of the Year and inductee into the GCAA Coaches' Hall of Fame… 2001 GCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year… 2003 SEC Coach of the Year… 2003 GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year… 2004 GCAA National Coach of the Year… 2004 GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year… 2004 SEC Coach of the Year… 2005 United States Palmer Cup Coach… 2011 SEC Coach of the Year
|Alexander’s Coaching History|
|1978||Georgia Southern||T22nd *|
|* Team qualified for the NCAA Championships but did not make the 21 team cut|
Inside Alexander’s Numbers at UF:
- 24 Professional players
- 32 All-Americans
- 58 All-America honors
- 67 Tournament medalists
- 80 Academic All-Conference honors
- 70 All-Conference honors
Academic Honors Under Alexander
- CoSIDA Academic All-American
- Kevin Mihailoff – 1998, District Second Team
- Nick Gilliam – 2001, Second Team
- Camilo Villegas – 2003, District Second Team
- Camilo Villegas – 2004, First Team
Golf Coaches’ Association All-Academic/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar
- Brian Craig – 1992
- Kevin Mihailoff – 1998
- Jordan Code – 2003
- Camilo Villegas – 2003
- Camilo Villegas – 2004
- Richard Treis – 2005
- Manuel Villegas – 2007
- Tyler Brown – 2008
- Manuel Villegas – 2008
SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year
- Bank Vongvanij – 2010
- Bank Vongvanij – 2011
|BUDDY ALEXANDER’S ASSISTANT COACHES|
|Year||Assistant||Where They Went|
|1988-92||Jim Kelson||Head Coach Tennessee (1998-present)|
|Head Coach Augusta (1992-98)|
|1992-93||Rob McNamara||Head Professional at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.|
|1993-96||Todd McCorkle||Head Women's Coach at Georgia (2000-2007)|
|Head Women’s Coach at Arizona (1999-2000)|
|Associate Head Coach at Arizona (1997-1998)|
|Coastal Carolina (1996-97)|
|1996-97||Nick Goetze||Head Coach Akron (2007-present)|
|Head Coach Florida State (2000-2003)|
|Head Coach Mississippi State (1998-2000)|
|Head Coach Texas El Paso (1997-1998)|
|1997–99||Brian Craig||Head Coach Kentucky (2000-present)|
|Head Coach Central Florida (1999-2000)|
|1999-2002||Chris Tuten||Director of Tour Promotions, Cobra Golf (2005-Present)|
|PGA Tour Representative, Callaway Golf (2002-2005)|
|2003-2005||Josh McCumber||Nationwide Tour (2005-present)|
|2005-2008||Brad Stracke||Head Coach North Texas (2008-present)|
|2008-2011||Steve Bradley||Head Coach Mercer University (2011-present)|