Jack O'Keefe is in his second season with the Jaguars and was named head men's golf coach at Georgia Regents University on Monday, Dec. 2 during an 11:00 a.m., news conference at the J. Fleming Norvell Golf House.
GRU Augusta Director of Athletics Clint Bryant introduced O'Keefe to a throng of campus and community supporters at the Jaguar Golf facility. With his appointment, O'Keefe became the sixth full-time head coach in the program's storied history.
"Jack brings to the table exactly what we need at this time within our Men's Golf program," said Bryant. "His ability to lead, to teach, to mentor and to set a positive example of expectations for our young men is just what the doctor ordered. We look forward to his tenure as our head coach and to our return as one of the elite intercollegiate golf programs in the nation."
In his first season at the helm of the Jaguars, O’Keefe led senior Alex Wennstam to the NCAA Eugene Regional at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore., May 15-17. For the regular season, the Jaguars had five top finishes under O’Keefe – highlighted by a first-place finish at the 2014 Forest Hills Collegiate on March 1st at Forest Hills Golf Club.
The former associate head coach for men's golf at the University of Mississippi for the last three and a half seasons, O'Keefe has played, coached and worked at the highest levels in several facets of the game. As the Rebels' assistant coach, O'Keefe helped guide Ole Miss to its fifth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance in 2011 and a No. 46 national ranking.
In his first season, O'Keefe worked directly with All-American, All-SEC and All-Region performer Jonathan Randolph and helped lead the Rebels to a 10th-place showing at the NCAA East Regional in Blacksburg, Va. He assisted head coach Ernest Ross in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, the scheduling of practices and academic support along with specializing in course management, short game fundamentals, swing analysis and player development.
O'Keefe, 44, came to Ole Miss after breaking into the collegiate coaching ranks at the University of Central Arkansas. During his four-year tenure as an assistant at UCA, O'Keefe helped the Bears climb from No. 139 in the national rankings all the way to 63rd in the final Golfweek magazine poll in 2010. O'Keefe guided UCA to a runnerup finish in the Southland Conference Championship in 2010 and placed all five players on the All-Southland Conference team (the only school to have five players make all-conference). From 2006-2009, O'Keefe helped lead the Bears to seven team victories (four in the 2009-10 season) and six individual victories.
"What an incredible opportunity this is to be the head coach at GRU Augusta," O'Keefe said. "It is both honoring and humbling to be a part of such a tradition-rich program. I have already begun securing our fall schedule for 2014 as well as planning one-on-one meetings with each player. I want to know them on and off the golf course. I am committed to encouraging and getting the most out of every player. The support of Coach Bryant, the search committee, the university, and our community will allow us to compete against the best teams in the country. Now begins the countdown … 82 days until we tee it up at our first spring tournament."
Prior to coaching at Central Arkansas, O'Keefe was the head golf professional at Hot Springs (Ark.) Country Club. While at HSCC, O'Keefe directed over 200 tournaments and taught over 400 lessons. He also directed the junior golf camps each year with over 60 juniors participating each summer.
Following a highly-decorated collegiate career, O'Keefe joined the professional ranks in June, 1993 and played all around the world for nearly 10 years. Among his proudest accomplishments as a professional include earning his PGA Tour card in 1997 (he finished 175th on the PGA Tour Official Money List) and competing in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club (72-71-76-76), where he was paired in the third round with world No. 1 Tom Lehman.
O'Keefe enjoyed a terrific season on the Nike Tour in 1996, ranking 15th on the money list with a pair of runnerup finishes. He earned 1995 Player of the Year honors on the Hooters Tour after a pair of victories. He was named 1995 International Rookie of the Year in Ube, Japan, and was the 1994 Australasian Tour Rookie of the Year after a 19th-place finish on the Australasian Tour's official money list. A three-time winner on the Hooters Tour, O'Keefe earned the Hooters Tour's Golf Achievement Award in 2001.
As a collegian at the University of Arkansas, O'Keefe was a four-time All-American, a two-time All-SEC selection and an All-Southwest Conference performer from 1989-93. He registered three individual victories as his Razorback squads captured 10 team tournament titles over his last two seasons.
A 2010 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Education, O'Keefe is married to the former Susan Fruits of Russellville, Ky. They are the parents of four children -- Lucy (12), John-Freeman (10), Henry (7) and Hogan (5).
The Jack O'Keefe File
John Freeman O'Keefe, Jr.
Sept. 28, 1969 (born in Waterbury, Conn.)
Little Rock, Ark.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., 1989-93; B.S. in Education (Industrial & Technology), University of Arkansas, 2010
Associate Head Men's Golf Coach, University of Mississippi, August, 2010 to November, 2013
Assistant Men's Golf Coach, University of Central Arkansas, August, 2006 to August, 2010
Head Golf Professional, Hot Springs (Ark.) Country Club, January, 2003 to August, 2006
Professional Golfer, June, 1993 to December, 2002
Professional Playing Experience
Hooters Tour member, 1998-2002
PGA Tour member, 1997 (finished 175th on official money list)
Nike Tour member, 1996 (finished 15th on official money list)
Competed in 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club (72-71-76-76)
PGA Australasian Tour member, 1994-98
Hooters Tour member, 1994-95
Hooters Tour Golf Achievement Award winner, 2001
Winner, Hooters Tour, Bay St. Louis, Miss., 2000
Finished in 13th place, PGA Tour's Deposit Guarantee Classic, 1997
Finished in 16th place, PGA Tour's FedEx Classic, 1997
Runnerup, NIKE Tour, Monterey, Mexico, 1996 and in Huntsville, Ala., 1996
Hooters Tour Player of the Year (led Hooters Tour official money list), 1995
Winner, Hooters Tour, Douglas, Ga., 1995 and in Rantoul, Ill., 1995
Australasian Tour Rookie of the Year (finished 19th on Australasian Tour official money list), 1994
Collegiate Playing Experience
Four-year letterwinner at University of Arkansas, 1989-93
Four-time NCAA All-American
Two-time All-SEC selection
All-Southwest Conference selection
Medalist in three collegiate events
Amateur Playing Experience
3-time Arkansas State Golf Association Player of the Year, 1990, 1991 and 1992
3-time U.S. Amateur participant in 1989 (Merion Golf Club), in 1991 (The Honors Course) and in 1992 (Muirfield Village Golf Club)
U.S. Amateur Public Links semifinalist, 1992
U.S. Amateur Public Links participant, 1991
U.S. Amateur Public Links quarterfinalist, 1990
Wife: the former Susan Fruits of Russellville, Ky.
Children: Lucy (12), John-Freeman (10), Henry (7) and Hogan (5)
Alex Wennstam competed for the Jaguars from 2010-2014 and will aide head coach Jack O’Keefe for the 2014-15 season.
Wennstam competed in 11 events in his final season as a Jaguar from 2013-14 and compiled 32 rounds. He shot par or better a team-high 12 times and posted a 66 (-6) for his lowest round of the year at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate on March 25th, where he also carded his best finish of the year with eighth place overall.
As a sophomore in 2011-12, He worked his way into the
lineup for the spring season after playing in two events during the
fall ... Has notched four top-50 finishes ... After turning in a
77.3 stroke average in the fall, has shown marked improvement in
2012 with a 74.87 stroke average in 15 spring rounds ... Placed a
season-best eighth at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate,
finishing at even-par 216 (72-73-70) ... Opened his sophomore
campaign by pacing the team with a tie for 23rd at the Fighting
Illini Invitational, closing with a 2-over 72 in the third round at
Olympia Fields Country Club ... Carded a tie for 26th in the
Charleston Shootout, including an opening round of 2-under 70 ...
Fired a season-best, 3-under 69 in the Jaguars’ home event,
the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, in the second round to
help ASU to force a playoff with No. 1-ranked Texas ... Left
himself an easy tap-in birdie on the first playoff hole to continue
the playoff to second hole against the Longhorns.
As a freshman in 2010-11, He was in the lineup for five events during the regular season ... Played in all five spring events prior to the NCAA East Regional ... Ranked sixth on the squad in stroke average at 74.47 ... Tallied four rounds of par or better and all but one of his 15 rounds were in the 70’s ... Shot two rounds in the 60’s, including a season-low 2-under 69 at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate.