When he took the head men’s golf coaching position at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Seth Porter brought an abundant supply of golf knowledge that spans back to his youth. This year, with a young team, Porter looks to share that knowledge and develop a team capable of competing for the Summit League title.
Golf runs deep in Porter’s veins. His lifelong golf career reached one of many high points in 1995 and 1996 when he was named Nebraska Amateur Player of the Year. Porter went on to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1999-2003 where he was a four-year letter winner, competed in the 1999 NCAA Championships and graduated with a degree in business administration.
Porter then moved to Phoenix with his wife, Kerri and two daughters, Ella and Emory where he competed professionally. He has played in The Gateway and Canadian Tours, among others. Porter returned to his home state where he could coach at UNO and raise his daughters and newest family addition son, Bowen.
“The job was a great avenue to get back to where we wanted to raise our family,” Porter said.
After spending a few years as an assistant, Porter rose to the head coaching job in 2014 and wasted no time preparing the team for Division I competition.
According to Porter, the off season for golfers is a difficult and sometimes boring one. Omaha’s home course are Oak Hills Country Club, Tiburon Golf Club and ArborLinks, but for offseason practices the UNO golf team utilizes the dome on campus where they work on distance control with their wedges. Porter says it isn’t ideal.
“It’s tough hitting off of the field turf to determine exactly how well a kid is hitting the golf ball,” Porter said. “I use it as a place for our guys to remember which end of the club to hold.”
Porter does not demand excessive weight training out of his golfers during the fall sea-son, as he needs to utilize his NCAA mandated 20 hours per week on the golf course.
“We limit heavy weights and work on core strength and agility,” he said.
After the long offseason, the Omaha men’s golf team is finally back in action. The team recently competed in UNO Invitational in Nebraska City, finishing 5th out of 12 and the Coyote Classic in South Dakota, finishing 7th out of 8.
This year’s team is a very young squad with five newcomers and no seniors. Last year, the team was loaded with veterans, but Porter isn’t worried about leadership issues.
“In golf, you take responsibility for your own game,” he said. “I tell my guys not to worry about the team score.”
Porter described this year as “a learning curve.” It being their first year of NCAA eligibility, he says he’s still trying to figure out of what the team is made. The limited experience on the team comes from Mitch Ryan and Miles Russell, who both redshirted last year.
“It is an entirely new squad and we need to figure out everyone’s strengths and maximize those and also identify weaknesses and minimize those on the golf course,” Porter said.
Porter is aided by former Maverick golfer, Taylor Sidzyik, who has come on as a volunteer coach. Sidzyik, who golfed for UNO from 2010-2014, will provide guidance and leadership for the young team.
“It’s great having a former player who knows where we want to go and has some tournament experience with me as a coach under his belt,” Porter said. “His service in invaluable.”
Last year, the Omaha golf team finished 8th in the Summit League, something upon which they hope to improve. Porter says that in golf it’s incredibly tough to predict on how your team will finish in the conference.
“Golf’s not like basketball or football where you can strategize how you are going to beat your opponent,” Porter said. “In golf, you are your own opponent.”
One of the keys to a successful season according to Porter is to ignore the team score card. “I just tell my-guys to play their game. The better they play, the better the team will do.”