FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University athletic director Murray Hartzler announced on Wednesday (July 9) the hiring of Mark Gaynor of Edinburg, Texas, as the school’s new head coach for men’s golf.
Gaynor, 30, succeeds Jonathan Burnett who resigned June 9 to take a position at the Country Club of South Carolina. In his final season, Burnett guided the Patriots to the NCAA Division II national championship, the first in the program’s history.
“Mark has the complete package to lead our program,” Hartzler said. “That includes all areas: coaching, fund raising, and recruiting. He has some big shoes to fill, but I am confident he possesses the ability to maintain our program’s success on the national level. He will be a welcome addition to our athletic staff.”
A native of Niles, Mich., Gaynor has been the head coach at the University of Texas-Pan American, an NCAA Division I independent, for the past three years. In 2002, he guided the Broncs to the National Minority College Golf Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. This past spring, his squad placed fourth at the 2003 championships.
His 2002-03 squad recorded six top-10 team finishes in 11 tournaments. The Broncs placed 11th at FMU’s own Carolina First Intercollegiate Tournament, last September at the Country Club of South Carolina.
When Gaynor took over as the UTPA head coach in 2000, he became the Broncs’ first full-time men’s golf coach. He raised the program’s Golfweek - Saragin (national) Ranking more than 75 positions during his tenure.
Prior to taking the UTPA position, he served as an assistant men’s and women’s coach at Furman University for three seasons, under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Mic Potter and Todd Satterfield. He also served as an assistant athletic academic adviser at Furman, monitoring the academic progress of student-athletes while handling advising and counseling duties. He worked as a group instructor at the Mic Potter Golf Academy for four summers.
“This is a great opportunity to walk into a program coming off a national championship season,” Gaynor said. “I can’t say enough about the job Coach Burnett did in building the program into a national power. I look forward to him being one of the team’s biggest supporters. I also have talked to enough people to know of the tremendous support that the area provides to the FMU program.
“I feel no added pressure taking over a squad that won the national title, but the expectations to return to that level of competition will be there. That will be the goal I will be aiming for in 2003-04.
“My parents live on Hilton Head Island, so I am very excited about returning to South Carolina – both personally and professionally. I enjoyed my visit to Francis Marion last week, and one thing that impressed me was the close-knit feeling of the athletic staff. That is certainly a strong attribute for the university.
“Having been at Furman for several years, and having taken my UTPA squad to tournaments in Aiken, Greenville, and Florence, I am somewhat familiar with Division II golf in this region. Obviously, the Palmetto State has enjoyed a great year of collegiate golf in 2003, and the fact that FMU placed fourth in the Peach Belt Conference and then went on to win the national title says a lot about the quality of competition in the PBC.
“I want to thank Murray Hartzler for affording me this opportunity. I also want to thank the staff at Texas-Pan American for the opportunity to be a head coach – it is never easy to leave a place like that. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Mic Potter and Todd Satterfield at Furman who are my coaching mentors.”
Gaynor played collegiate golf at Michigan State University, where he earned a B.S. degree in physical education and exercise science. He later received a M.Ed. degree in sports management from the University of Georgia.
A one-time member of the Powerbilt Golf Tour, Gaynor has earned numerous amateur playing honors. He captured the 2000 Palmetto Amateur championship in Aiken, and participated in the 2000 USGA Mid-Amateur in Hot Springs, Va.
Gaynor is a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America.
FMU loses three seniors off this past season’s national championship squad that compiled a 129-43-2 mark. The Patriots have advanced to the Division II national championship tournament three times in the past six years and have captured two of the last five PBC titles.