by Tyler Peck, sports information graduate
NEW YORK - The Georgia College & State University golf team stands atop the Golf World/Nike Golf Division II Preseason Coaches' Poll at No. 1. This is the first time in program history and under head coach Jimmy Wilson the golf team has been preseason ranked No. 1.
Five of the 18 first-place votes went to the Bobcats, who finished fifth at the NCAA Championship last year. The squad also had a third-place finish at the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championship and fifth at the NCAA Regionals. Two All-Americans from last year, Pedro Lima (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Niclas Johansson (Skanor, Sweden), return for their senior years to lead the Georgia College team.
Joe Young (Cochran, Ga.), an Honorable Mention All-American in 2008, and Johansson were both named to the All-PBC team this past season. Johansson tied a school record set by David Robinson with three All-America titles and has the potential to win a fourth.
Wilson has guided the Bobcats to 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances (1998-2009). His teams reached the national championship round of the NCAA Tournament eight years, including five of the last six. Wilson guided the Bobcats to the 2000 Peach Belt Conference Championship, was named the league's coach of the year that season. In 2008, Wilson nabbed both the Southeast Region and PBC coach of the year honors. Wilson has also coached 18 All-Americans in his tenure with the Bobcats.
"First, I would like to thank all my peers that voted us number one," Wilson said. "This is a great honor, but as I tell my players every year, the only ranking that matters is the one that comes out after the third week in May."
Georgia College will hit the links next week (Sept. 7-8) for their first tournament of the fall season in the Kiawah Island Invitational hosted by USC Aiken.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.