2019-20 (Updated March 21, 2020): Head coach Scott Limbaugh has lifted the Vanderbilt golf program to new and unprecedented heights in his seven seasons with the Commodores.
Since his arrival prior to the 2012 campaign, Limbaugh has quickly established himself as one of the nation’s preeminent coaches. He has mentored five first-team All-Americans, seven Palmer Cup selections, a Walker Cup member and 16 total All-America selections, all while also garnering seven consecutive NCAA Regional bids and six consecutive NCAA Championship appearances from 2014-19 for the first time in program history. Under Limbaugh, Vanderbilt has won 23 team tournaments — the most by a head coach in Vanderbilt golf history — and garnered 17 individual tournament winners. The coach has also led Vanderbilt to a first-place (2017), second-place (2015, 2019) and fourth-place (2016) finish in the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championship, Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016, and Final Four appearances in the 2017 and 2019 NCAA Championships. He has also had three of his players participate in a PGA Tour event while still a member of the Commodores: Hunter Stewart in 2014 at the RBC Heritage, Matthias Schwab at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2017, and John Augenstein at the 2019 RBC Heritage.
Limbaugh’s student-athletes have evolved into some of the SEC’s best. He has coached 19 All-SEC selections, three SEC Players of the Year (Will Gordon in 2019, Theo Humphrey in 2018, Hunter Stewart in 2015) and one SEC Freshman of the Year (John Augenstein in 2017). Prior to his arrival, Vanderbilt boasted only 10 All-SEC players in the entire history of the program. In 2015, Limbaugh became a finalist for the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year. One year later he was named the 2016 GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year, and in 2017, he garnered the program’s first GCAA National Coach of the Year (Dave Williams Award) and the SEC Coach of the Year, while also winning another GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year. In 2018, he was selected as a co-Head Coach of the 2019 United States Palmer Cup Team, where a record-tying three Commodores were named to the team (John Augenstein, Will Gordon, Patrick Martin), and in the spring of 2019, he added his second SEC Coach of the Year honor.
The 2019-20 season, which was cut short in March of 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, featured senior John Augenstein, one of the nation’s top collegiate players, and was on pace to once again contend for the sport’s highest honors, both as a team and individually. Vanderbilt claimed one team title, the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate, by 24 strokes, and Augenstein won the individual championship after leading wire-to-wire. After competing in the Carmel Cup to begin the season without Augenstein because of his commitment to the Walker Cup, Vanderbilt finished in the top five in their last seven tournaments of the season.
The 2018-19 Commodores featured the best regular-season stroke-average season in Vanderbilt history from Will Gordon and three team tournament titles (Tavistock Collegiate Championship, Florida Gators Invitational, Mason Rudolph Championship) and two individual championships. Vanderbilt was selected as the number one seed for a NCAA Regional for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in five years when they were named the number one seed in the Athens, Georgia regional. They finished the Athens Regional with a third-place finish and their sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships. In Fayetteville, Arkansas at the NCAA Championships, the Commodores finished second in stroke play and made the Final Four for the second time in his tenure in match play. After the season concluded, Limbaugh also served as a United States Co-Head Coach at the 2019 Palmer Cup in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The 2017-18 campaign built on past successes, with the Commodores claiming four team titles – at the nationally televised East Lake Cup, SunTrust Gator Invitational, Schenkel Invitational, and the Mason Rudolph Championship – while three different Vanderbilt players, John Augenstein, Will Gordon, and Theo Humphrey, have captured individual titles. The Commodores were the number one seed at the SEC Championship for the second consecutive season, and Humphrey (Player of the Year, All-SEC first team), Gordon (All-SEC first team), Augenstein (All-SEC second team), and Patrick Martin (All-SEC second team) were honored by the league’s coaches. Humphrey also became Vanderbilt’s fifth first-team All-American selection, with Gordon, Martin, and Augenstein all earning honorable-mention All-American accolades.
The 2016-17 season once again produced numerous firsts for the Vanderbilt program. The Dores captured the SEC Championship for the first time in program history under a new revamped format in Sea Island, Ga. The Commodores won the stroke play portion of the tournament by six shots, and then won three dramatic match-play victories against Ole Miss, Florida, and Texas A&M to win the tournament. Schwab claimed the victory over Ole Miss with a clutch putt on the 18th to defeat the Rebels, while Augenstein clinched the wins over the Gators and Aggies in extra holes, with Augenstein winning the Florida match with a decisive 10-foot putt on the 20th hole.
At the 2017 NCAA Championship, Vanderbilt won the stroke-play portion of the tournament by 12 shots and advanced to the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. The Commodores’ appearance in match play in 2017 marked the third consecutive year Vanderbilt has appeared in the format, the only team in the SEC to accomplish the feat.
Vanderbilt also won the prestigious Nike Collegiate Invitational at world-renowned Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth, Texas, and knocked off a number of nationally ranked teams in the process. In 2017, Patrick Martin and Matthias Schwab earned First-Team All-SEC honors, Theo Humphrey landed on the All-SEC Second Team and John Augenstein became Vanderbilt’s first SEC Freshman of the Year honoree. All four players also received GCAA All-American honors – Martin (first team), Schwab (second team), Humphrey (third team), and Augenstein (Freshman, Honorable Mention).
In 2015-16, Vanderbilt won four team tournaments: the DICK’s Sporting Goods Challenge, the Schenkel Invitational, the FarmLinks Collegiate Match Play and the Mason Rudolph Championship. Matthias Schwab claimed a share for the individual championship at the Carmel Cup, while Will Gordon tied for the individual lead at the Schenkel. Vanderbilt finished in second at the NCAA Franklin Regional held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club’s North Course, a finish which included a final-round 20-under par, 268, the team’s lowest round of the season and tied for the second-lowest round in program history. At the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Oregon, Limbaugh’s Commodores finished in a tie for fourth in the four-round stroke play and advanced to match play for the second time in two years, the only two years in the program’s history the team has advanced to match play.
In 2014-15, Vanderbilt had one of the most successful seasons in the history of the program, with Stewart leading the way by winning the SEC Player of the Year, the second by a Commodore men’s golfer, and being named as a First-Team All-SEC selection and a First-Team All-American. He also ended the season as the number-one ranked golfer in the nation according to Golfstat, and he became the Commodores’ first-ever Walker Cup member in August of 2015. Schwab was also named as an All-SEC First-Team member and a Third-Team All-American by the GCAA. Zack Jaworski was likewise named an honorable mention All-America selection. Schwab and Stewart, who each played in the Palmer Cup in 2015, were named recipients of the Michael Carter Award, which is presented to the Palmer Cup participant that best represents the qualities and ideals sportsmanship, integrity and upholding of the game.
Carson Jacobs was named to the All-SEC Second Team and Theo Humphrey to the All-SEC Freshman Team. The 2014-15 season marked the most selections to the All-America and All-SEC teams in the history of the program.
The Commodores also made a splash at the 2015 NCAA Championship, finishing second in stroke play competition before falling in the quarterfinals of match play to eventual national champion LSU in their first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight. The exploits of the 2014-15 season earned Limbaugh a spot among the nation’s top collegiate coaches when he was named one of five finalists for the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year in the spring of 2015.
Astonishingly, 12 of the top 15 single-season stroke averages in the history of the program have been with Limbaugh at the helm. Six of the top 10 all-time scoring averages have come with Limbaugh as the head coach, with Schwab’s 70.81 career average leading the way.
Prior to his arrival in Nashville, Limbaugh spent five seasons serving as the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for the SEC and national powerhouse Alabama. Limbaugh’s tenure in Tuscaloosa saw the Crimson Tide finish as the NCAA runner-up (2012), capture SEC championships in two seasons (2008, 2012) and win two NCAA East Regional titles (2009, 2012). Alabama also played in four NCAA Championships and claimed 20 team tournament titles with Limbaugh on staff.
“I believe that Vanderbilt is a special place and we can build champions on and off the golf course,” said Limbaugh shortly after arriving at Vanderbilt. “There are many things that attracted me to Vanderbilt: First of all, Vanderbilt is a great university and Nashville is such an awesome location. We will have the opportunity to build champions in the classroom, on the golf course, and have young people that represent Vanderbilt in a way that Vanderbilt needs to be represented.”
Individually, Limbaugh has helped mentor 24 All-Americans on the course, with eight of those being first-team selections (Michael Thompson, 2008; Bud Cauley, 2009, 2010, 2011; Justin Thomas, 2012; Hunter Stewart, 2015; Matthias Schwab, 2015, 2016; Patrick Martin, 2017; Theo Humphrey, 2018; Will Gordon, 2019). Thomas, who was recruited by Limbaugh, claimed the prestigious Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson awards while also earning SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year honors. He has also coached two Walker Cup team members (Bud Cauley, Hunter Stewart), eight Palmer Cup members (Michael Thompson, Bud Cauley, Justin Thomas, Hunter Stewart, Matthias Schwab, Will Gordon (twice), Patrick Martin, John Augenstein), five SEC Players of the Year (Michael Thompson, 2008; Thomas, 2012; Stewart, 2015; Humphrey, 2018; Gordon, 2019), and three additional SEC Freshmen of the Year (Bud Cauley, 2009; Cory Whitsett, 2011, John Augenstein, 2017).
Off the course and in the classroom, Limbaugh also helped recruit and tutor some of the nation’s best. In 2012, he coached the NCAA Elite 89 winner in Whitsett, and in 2008, Joeseph Sykora claimed the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Student-Athlete of the Year honor. In all, Limbaugh has coached 87 Academic All-SEC selections and eight Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-America Scholar members.
A 2003 Huntingdon College (Ala.) graduate, Limbaugh played for the Hawks for two seasons after helping lead Central Alabama Community College to two NCAA Junior College National Championships. Limbaugh was a co-captain on that 2000 National Champion team for Central Alabama. As a golfer at Huntingdon, he competed at nationals and was team captain in 2002. After his playing career was over, Limbaugh was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater and was elevated to head coach in June of 2004, where he served until Alabama men’s golf hired him as an assistant in 2007.
Limbaugh, a Childersburg, Ala., native, was the 2005-06 Eaton/Golf Pride South Region NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. He coached Huntingdon to a fourth-place NCAA Division III men’s golf finish in 2007, which was its best finish in school history. It was Huntingdon’s third straight NCAA appearance as Limbaugh’s teams qualified in all three of his seasons as head coach. His first Huntingdon team in 2005 finished ninth before the 2006 team finished 15th. His 2006 team was ranked No. 1 for almost the entire season in Division III.
Limbaugh produced three All-Americans during his time at Huntingdon, including Alex Balog, Jacob Collinsworth and Matt Mahanic. Collinsworth was a first-team selection after finishing second individually at the NCAA Division III Championships.
Limbaugh and his wife, Kate, have two daughters, Malley (8), and Annie (6), and one son, Thomas (3).
What Others Are Saying About Limbaugh
“Scott Limbaugh has an infectious attitude and is a tireless recruiter. I look forward to getting to know him even better and know he is the coach that will bring Vanderbilt golf back to relevance on the national level. We have found the right man for the job.”
– Brandt Snedeker, Vanderbilt All-American, PGA Tour, Search Committee Member
“In my career, we’ve played with Alabama, and I think with Coach Limbaugh, you’re getting a guy with a lot of energy who’s going to put 110% behind the program. That type of energy is what really is going to benefit our program and take it to where we all want it to go. With Coach Limbaugh, he’s going to bring out every ounce of potential in all of the guys.”
– Adam Hofmann, Vanderbilt Men’s Golfer, Class of 2012
“Coach Limbaugh has been an unbelievable influence on me and our team. He is a great coach. He brings so much energy to his job and that translates to our team. Coach always had a positive approach to everything we did. He is going to be missed, but all of us are very happy for the opportunity that he is getting at Vanderbilt. He is so driven and determined and I think he will do a great job in Nashville.”
– Justin Thomas, 2012 SEC Freshman and Player of the Year, University of Alabama