A look back at Houston Men's Golf in Conference USA from 1996 to 2013
Mike Dirks enters his ninth season at the helm of the golf program at the University of Houston. Since his arrival to UH, Dirks has recruited the top amateur golfers in the nation and the world, scheduled the toughest teams in the best tournaments and developed a complete program focused on the student-athletes and their development as golfers, students and individuals. He has singlehandedly returned the University of Houston golf program to national prominence.
The Cougars have posted Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Golf Championships in four of the last five years with five Top 15 placings. Houston?s fourth-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Golf Championships was their highest finish since claiming the title in 1985. In addition, the 2000 Cougar squad enjoyed its best four-year finish since the 1984-86 teams wrapped up two national championships and a fifth-place finish. The Cougars placed fifth or better in 9 of 12 tournaments and posted its fourth consecutive Conference USA Championship that season.
In all, Dirks-coached UH teams have won 12 tournaments, five straight Conference USA Championships from 1997-2001, one Southwest Conference and three C-USA individual titles and a handful of All-America awards over the last eight years. Five members of the 1999 squad played in or qualified as alternates for the 1999 United States Amateur Championship, which placed UH number one in qualified players.
Since being named the fourth head golf coach in school history on April 27, 1994, Dirks has made it obvious that he is not interested in simply maintaining the program?s high profile. He intends to add to it. Dirks brought with him a contagious work ethic and boundless enthusiasm, and as a result, the Cougars have become a fixture in the national rankings and are once again on the invitation lists at all of the nation?s top tournaments.
Dirks? Cougar teams have played in Hawaii, Arizona, Hilton Head, S.C., Pumpkin Ridge, Ore., Dalton, Ga., Las Vegas, Los Angeles and even travelled to Tokyo, Japan two years ago.
Dirks came to UH from Tulane University, where he spent four years as the head coach. In 1994 he was named the Metro Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Green Wave to a runner-up finish at the Metro Championships. Prior to that, the Fort Worth native and Lamar University graduate had coached his alma mater to the Southland Conference title and a seventh-place finish at the 1986 NCAA Championships.
A four-year letterwinner at Lamar from 1982-85, Dirks won the Southland Conference individual title in 1982 and was named a Golf Coaches Association of America honorable mention All-American later that year. He competed in two NCAA Championships and led the Cardinals to a pair of conference titles. Twice, Dirks was named to the All-Southland Conference squad.
?Our goal at Houston is to win that 17th national championship,? Dirks said. ?During my time here we have made significant strides toward that goal and feel it is within reach. It?s been exciting to see the response to our golf program and the success we?ve had from all the former Cougars out there. Now we?re ready to take the next step.?
In addition to his coaching duties, Dirks created and organized the first AIM Dave Williams Memorial Pro-Am Tournament with proceeds benefitting the UH golf scholarship fund. The tournament brought current and former PGA Tour professionals to Houston and honored the memory of the late Dave Williams. Dirks also serves on the District VI Advisory Committee of the Golf Coaches Association of America.
The 40-year-old Dirks received his bachelor?s degree in business administration from Lamar in 1985. He and his wife, Susan, have two sons, David and Ben.