It was something of an Alabama Night in Las Vegas Monday when the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) held its induction ceremony for the 2016 Hall of Fame Class.
Alabama Men’s Golf Coach Jay Seawell and Dick Spybey, former Crimson Tide men’s and women’s golf coach, were two of six individuals who were inducted.
Four others were inducted alongside Seawell and Spybey, including former Alabama assistant coach and current Baylor coach Mike McGraw. Vince Clark, Tim Poe, and Mike Small were inducted despite having no ties to Alabama.
Bama Women’s Coach Mic Potter is a previous inductee.
Named Alabama’s head men’s golf coach on July 26, 2002, Seawell led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back national championships in 2013 and 2014, while his teams have captured a total of four Southeastern Conference championships. Seawell has led Alabama to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and nine NCAA Championship berths. Seawell has coached Alabama to 46 team tournament championships with 34 individual medalists. He received the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award in 2013.
Seawell has coached 31 PING All-Americans during his coaching career. His golfers at Alabama have been nominated for the sport’s highest national awards, including the Ben Hogan Award, the Jack Nicklaus Award, the Fred Haskins Award, the Phil Mickelson Award and the Byron Nelson Award. Justin Thomas won the Nicklaus, Haskins and Mickelson awards in 2012 and Robby Shelton was named the Mickelson Award winner in 2014.
Alabama has put 77 student-athletes on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in the last 14 years during Seawell’s tenure and has seen eight student-athletes (16 honors) earn Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar accolades. Joseph Sykora was voted by the league golf coaches as the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year an SEC-record three times. In 2008, Sykora won the SEC’s H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award (all sports, all males in the league) and Alabama’s Bryant Award, as the top male student-athlete from any sport. Cory Whitsett received the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Elite 89 Award, presented annually to the golfer at the NCAA Championships with the highest GPA. He also was named 2013 and 2014 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year while winning the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award and the Bryant Award in 2014.
Seawell began his coaching career at Anderson College, where he coached from 1991-96 and won five consecutive NJCAA Region 10 championship and earned five Region Coach of the Year awards. After briefly leaving Anderson for another career pursuit, Seawell returned to coach Anderson again in 1997-98. He was hired by Augusta State as its head coach prior to the start of 1998-99 season. He led ASU to four straight NCAA Regional appearances and three trips to the NCAA Championships. He coached three PING All-Americans during his tenure at Augusta State.
Spybey served as Alabama’s women’s head coach from 1985-88 and its men’s head coach from 1988-2002. He led the Crimson Tide to eight regional appearances and advanced to the NCAA finals four times. Spybey was named Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award recipient in 1992 and was time recognized as GCAA District 3 South Coach of the Year. He earned SEC Coach of the Year Awards as both a men’s and women’s coach, the only individual to win both honors. Spybey also served on the team USA coaching staff for the inaugural Arnold Palmer Cup in 199
Five of Spybey’s golfers earned All-America honors while five received All-America scholar recognition. Marten Olander received the 1993 Ben Hogan Award. Allen MacDonald represented GB&I in the inaugural Arnold Palmer Cup matches. A total of 16 golfers earned All-SEC honors and 48 were All-SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients.
An active member of the GCAA, Spybey served as the Association’s president from 1995-97 and served on the National Advisory Board from 1991-99. He served a two-year term as the GCAA representative on the USGA Committee on Amateurism and was the District 3 South Selection Committee chairman. Additionally, Spybey hosted a number of college tournaments and was tournament director for the 1998 Arnold Palmer Cup held at St. Andrews.