MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota head women's golf coach Michele Redman has announced that John Cleary has been promoted to associate head coach of the program after helping guide the Gophers to one of the most successful seasons in school history last season.
The 2013-14 campaign marked Cleary's third season at Minnesota with the program taking great strides over the last season. The Gophers' NCAA Central Regional berth in 2014 was just the seventh in school history while the Maroon & Gold finished just two strokes shy of a trip to the NCAA championships. The team also picked up its first win in six seasons at the BYU Entrada Classic last season while Cleary was also instrumental in organizing the Minnesota Invitational at the Minikahda Club - Minnesota's first home tournament in eight years.
Statistically speaking, the 2013-14 season may have been Minnesota's best ever with four of the program's top tournament scores including the 2014 UCF Challenge, which tied the school record at 869, as well as four of the top seven rounds in program history. Individually, Carmen Laguna set a new school scoring average record at 74.19 to lead the Maroon & Gold while Anna Laorr, Banchalee Theinthong and Sarinee Thitiratanakorn also posted averages that ranked among the top-10 in program history. Theinthong graduated with the second lowest career scoring average in Gophers history (76.45) while Laorr earned her first career win in 2014 at the BYU Entrada Classic.
"John has done an incredible job over the last three seasons as we continue to build a winning program at the University of Minnesota," Redman said. "He is an invaluable asset to our staff, to our girls and to our program."
Prior to joining the Gophers in 2011, Cleary spent two seasons as an assistant for the Texas Tech women's golf program. During his two seasons in Lubbock, the Red Raiders qualified for the NCAA East Regional both years, finishing ninth in 2010 and 16th in 2011. Additionally, Tech had three team victories and three individual medalists and Rosalyn Kim advanced to the NCAA Championship in 2010 after finishing third at the East Regional.
Before Texas Tech, Cleary, one of the top collegiate coaches in the country, spent seven seasons as the head men's coach at Northern Illinois. During his tenure, he led the Huskies to five team titles while mentoring Nick Schenk, the school's first First-Team All-MAC (Mid-American Conference) selection in over two decades. He also tutored Andrew Frame, the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2007.
Just the second head coach in the first 50-years of the Huskies program, Cleary's impact was felt in his first season of 2002-03. During that initial campaign, the Glenview, Ill. native helped lower Northern Illinois' scoring average by more than eight strokes. The Huskies posted top-10 finishes in seven of their 10 tournaments and came home with titles from the Bradley Fall Classic and the Illinois State Intercollegiate.
Cleary earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1991. He began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant coach at Loyola (Ill.) and then moved on to Northwestern University where he served as an assistant for three seasons with the women's program and one year with the Wildcat men's team.
He is a member of the PGA and played in the 2000 Western Open. In addition, he was the runner-up at the 2000 Illinois PGA Championship and also qualified for six PGA National Club Professional Championships.
Cleary and his wife, Crystal, reside in Minneapolis. The couple welcomed a son, Cullen, in 2014.
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