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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Building consistent winners

Mens+golf+coach+Brian+Kortan+has+been+named+head+coach.
Photo by FILE

Men’s golf coach Brian Kortan has been named head coach.

After over a decade serving as assistant coach in multiple states, Brian Kortan finally has his chance at the helm.
When former Texas A&M men’s golf head coach J.T. Higgins left for USC in August 2020, Brain Kortan was promoted to the top job on an interim basis after being an assistant coach since 2013.
In what was a difficult period for collegiate athletics, Kortan led A&M on a successful 2020-21 campaign, culminating in an appearance at the NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque, N.M. After the season, Kortan was named head coach by A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork.
“The team did a really good job and had a nice year playing,” Kortan said. “In the end, Ross Bjork and those that were looking to hire the position thought I was the guy for the job.”
Fifth-year senior Walker Lee said Kortan puts more trust into the team’s players than Higgins.
“He’s a good friend to everyone,” Lee said. “He coaches us as if we’re one of his buddies and let’s us do our own thing. He has a lot of trust in us.”
When Lee originally committed to A&M in middle school, Kortan was one of the main people involved in his recruiting process.
“I committed in eighth grade, so I committed really young,” Lee said. “Both of my parents went to A&M, so I [was going] to A&M the whole way. He watched me in a tournament when I was in eighth grade, and I ended up winning. We committed a couple of days later.”
Senior Sam Bennett said Kortan’s wealth of experience in the program helped the transition into becoming the head coach. This helped the Aggies find success almost immediately under their new leader.
“It was pretty easy because Kortan has been around [the program] for nine years, and J.T. [Higgins] left a good legacy, and we still kind of go by that. Kortan took over and is doing the same things,” Bennett said. “It was a pretty easy transition for all of us. He’s easy to be around, and we all like [being with] him.”
Kortan’s ability to relate to his players as a former professional player for 16 years is one of the main reasons Bennett decided to play for the Aggies. Having played in PGA tour events and even making a US Open appearance in 2008, Kortan has a wealth of experience to share with his players.
“He’s a great coach [and leader],” Bennett said. “He’s someone that I vent to, not just for golf stuff, [but] as kind of like a parent. I can go to him when I’m struggling with something off the golf course.”
Instead of focusing on goals, Kortan said he wants to help his players constantly improve and hopes it eventually leads to winning.
“I don’t really use [goals],” Kortan said. “My belief as a coach within this program is that coach [Matt] Fast and myself [are] going to try to do everything we can to raise their level to help them be the best version of [themselves] and help this team be the best they can be.”
Kortan helped Bennett, currently one of the top collegiate golfers in the country, learn what it takes to win a golf tournament after struggling to do so when first arriving at A&M.
“My first two-and-a-half years I was struggling to win a golf tournament, and then we sat down and talked for a while about what needs to happen to win,” Bennett said. “It’s tough in a sport where you don’t win much, but he told me a few strategies [such as] staying patient to help me when I’m out on the course.”
Kortan said he learned about mentoring from his college coach at New Mexico, John Fields, and the head coaches at his former assistant coaching stops — Glen Millican from New Mexico and Higgins from A&M.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around a lot of good coaches, from my college coach John Fields, to a good friend of mine who I was an assistant coach to, Glen Millican, and then J.T. Higgins here,” Kortan said.
His parents were the catalysts behind Kortan becoming interested in golf from the age of 10 in his hometown of Yankton, S.D.
“I was probably like 10, in [the] small town [of Yankton,] South Dakota,” Kortan said. “My parents were huge in helping me fall in love with the game, and my dad was an incredibly successful coach — horrible golfer, but a great coach.”
Kortan said his favorite part about coaching at A&M is the atmosphere in Aggieland. The opportunities given to students at A&M surprises Kortan every day.
“I love the energy around the university,” Kortan said. “I like seeing all the students and student-athletes have opportunities [to succeed]. It’s eye opening every day. I just really like being in the area. The people and the things that A&M stands for [makes the university] a really good place.”
Above winning, Kortan wants to get the right players who represent A&M well. Kortan said he thinks this is important to building a program with sustained success.
“The easy thing to say is we want to win national championships,” Kortan said. “However, I want to have the right kind of guys that work together and develop those relationships and represent the university, their families and this program the [best] way they can.”
Kortan said he would still love to win while building a program Aggies can appreciate, as well as gaining recognition and bringing a national championship back to Bryan-College Station.
“Along with that, we want to chase championships together,” Kortan said. “I want to continue to build this program where year in and year out it’s nationally recognized and a program that all Aggies can be proud of.”
Bennett said he feels the program is in good hands with Kortan in charge. A&M should be near the top of collegiate golf for a long time, he said.
“We’re going to be good,” Bennett said. “He did well last year and he’s had a good fall this year. I think under his leadership we’re gonna remain one of the best teams in college [golf] for a long time.”

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