Matt Lewis is in his fourth season leading the Drake's men's golf program after being named head coach on July 26, 2011.
The Bulldogs undertook a challenging schedule this past season under Lewis as Drake routinely faced nationally ranked opponents on a weekly basis.
The Bulldogs responded with four top-10 finishes, including a season-best fourth-place effort at the Benbow Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla.
Sophomore Will McDonald continued his development as a player this past season, registering a team-low 75.2 scoring average in the spring en route to collecting Drake’s top finish in five of six spring tournaments. He capped his campaign finishing tied for 18th at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship to earn top-18 flag honors.
As a team, the Bulldogs garnered a seventh-place showing at the MVC Championship with a 919 (318-293-308=919) scorecard.
Junior Dane Worley directed the Bulldogs’ efforts on the campaign with a team-best 76.2 scoring average, while redshirt junior Devin Leland, McDonald and seniors Matt Ohl and Connor Steele posted scoring averages of 76.6, 76.9, 77.2 and 77.2, respectively. In limited action, freshmen Brady Richardson and Karter Smith registered averages of 76.1 and 79.7.
Off the course, Leland was tabbed to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention squad.
A testament to Lewis’ abilities to reenergize the Drake program is the fact that the Bulldogs posted 13 rounds below 300 on the campaign (eight during the 2012-13 campaign). Included was a season-low 282 during the second round of the Desert Shootout, en route to lowering their team average by nearly two strokes (303.3). Individually, three Drake players improved their scoring averages from the year before.
The Bulldogs continued their steady development during Lewis’ second year garnering top-10 finishes in seven tournaments.
Sparked by a third-place finish from Leland, the Bulldogs collected a fifth-place showing at the MVC Championship with a score of 909 (301-308-300), one stroke behind fourth-place Bradley. Worley registered a 73 over the final 18 holes to notch a tie for 14th place with a 227 (79-75-73) scorecard, which earned him top-18 flag honors.
Every Bulldog who competed during the spring campaign lowered their scoring averages from the year before. As a team, Drake also shaved strokes of its team scoring average.
Off the course, the Bulldogs also excelled as Leland and Worley garnered MVC Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete accolades. Leland pulled in first-team honors, while Worley received honorable mention recognition.
In his first campaign directing the Bulldogs, Drake turned in top-10 finishes in six tournaments and were led by Leland and then freshman Blake Huser, who posted scoring averages of 76.3 and 76.8, respectively.
In a finish where only eight strokes separated the third- to eighth-place finishers, Drake earned a seventh-place showing at the State Farm MVC Championship on the strength of a 910 (303-292-315) score.
Huser tied for 12th at the State Farm MVC Championship, while also earning tournament flags for top-18 finishes were Ben Lyons and Worley, who tied for 18th place.
Lewis, a former first-team All-Big 12 and first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer at Iowa State, has been head golf professional at Clinton Country Club in Clinton, Iowa, since 2004. As a Cyclone (1997-99) he was coached by former Drake head coach Jamie Bermel.
"It is an honor to have Matt Lewis in the Drake Athletics family," said Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb. "He is a perfect fit with our organizational values, and is a consummate teacher and a born winner. Matt's focus on creating a positive culture and on teamwork will provide a strong foundation for success with our men's golf program."
As head pro at Clinton Country Club, Lewis earned a reputation as a respected teacher of the game, working with golfers of all ages and abilities. He also promoted and conducted 60 member events and 24 corporate events annually. During his time in the position he oversaw an increase in corporate events from 11 in 2004 to 24 last year. In addition to many responsibilities he was responsible for recruiting, hiring and training 15 golf department employees.
"My family and I are very excited about being a part of the Drake community," Lewis said. "I am looking forward to creating a strong, cohesive team. My experiences as a collegiate student-athlete, professional golfer and club professional have prepared me to be a successful college golf coach."
Prior to his tenure at Clinton C.C., Lewis gained eight years of experience working at two of the top private clubs in Minnesota: Somerset Country Club (assistant golf pro, 2001-03) and Interlachen Country Club (1996-2000).
Drake alumnus and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson praised the hire.
"Drake University hired a winner in Matt Lewis," Johnson said. "Because of his background as a college student-athlete and as a professional golfer, Matt provides the necessary platform for his golfers to be successful on the links and in the classroom. His attention to detail, tireless work ethic, positive attitude and fun-loving spirit will trickle down to his student-athletes and the DU Athletic Administration."
Lewis began his collegiate career at Minnesota (1994-97) before transferring to Iowa State (1997-99). He still ranks tied for seventh in Iowa State history with a low 54-hole tournament score of 207 at the 1997 Red Raider Invitational. He is also seventh in Cyclones history with a career stroke average of 74.13, under the direction of former Bulldogs head coach Bermel, now the head coach at Kansas.
"I could not be happier for Drake University, Bulldog Men's Golf, Matt Lewis and his family," Bermel said. "Matt will work tirelessly to get the Bulldogs to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference. He will engage all former players, alumni and golf supporters in his quest to be the best. I know Matt will recruit quality student-athletes and get them to play at the highest possible level."
Lewis earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 1998 when he led the team with a 73.82 stroke average. He was a first-team academic All-Big 12 choice and Iowa State team captain in 1998 and '99. The Cyclones competed in the NCAA Regional in Columbus, Ohio in his senior year of 1999. Lewis received his Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications from Iowa State in 1999.
Following his collegiate career, Lewis competed in the North Florida PGA Tour (1999-2000), and is a PGA Class A Member.
His professional memberships include Iowa PGA Section Board Member (2009-11) and Membership Committee Member for the Iowa PGA (2010-11).
Lewis placed in the Top 10 in four AJGA Tournaments as a national competitive high school athlete (1992-1994) at Hempstead High School in Dubuque.
A native of Dubuque, the 38-year-old Lewis and his wife, Tara, have three children, daughter Avery, and sons Jackson and Bennett.