Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Boyd Bradbury


college golf, competitive advantage, national rank, NCAA, Division II



The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) added Division II men’s golf in 1963. Since then, teams in the South/Southeast (S/SE) NCAA Region have been dominant, with the last nine of 11 national champions from schools in Florida. What are the pragmatic factors that make a top 50 nationally ranked team or an elite team in the top 25? This study had 14 head coaches of nationally ranked teams (or previous national rank) and included three former national champions in the participant sample. These coaches were interviewed individually or set into focus groups within the S/SE and Central/Midwest NCAA Regions. From these qualitative data, 12 codes formed the basic factors of discussion: scholarship, facilities, recruitment, coach leadership, schedule, team culture, climate, NCAA portal, history of winning, D2/D1 stigma, staffing, and administrative support. From these axial codes formed four selective codes of resources, coach control, external factors, and politics. Once the data became theoretically saturated, it produced a grounded theory, the Theory of Coach Control. Coach Control covers the aspects of recruitment, coach leadership, scheduling, and team culture. The most significant feature of Coach Control is recruitment. The data defines this as “actively recruiting at a high level”. This is the most dominant factor that can overcome climate, facilities, scholarship, or administrative support. Closely behind this factor is coach leadership, which is the philosophy and priorities of the head coach. On its own, the Theory of Coach Control can produce a nationally ranked team.



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