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Neal Retires as Director of AU Golf

Neal Retires as Director of AU Golf

ANDERSON, S.C. – Danny Neal, the 2023 South Atlantic Conference Men's Golf Coach of the Year and a three-time conference women's golf coach of the year, has announced that he is retiring, effective July 28.

"As I look back on my time at AU, it's hard to believe that 20 years have passed," said Neal. "I feel so blessed to have been able to pursue my passion of coaching golf at a Christian university like Anderson. It has been a joy to pour into the lives of our student athletes and see them grow and mature over their time here; not only on the course, but as young men and women as well. I have made many friends and memories that will last a lifetime. I want to thank Dr. Whitaker, Bobby Beville, Nancy Simpson, Bill D'Andrea and Bert Epting for their trust and support throughout my career. And I would also like to thank Denton Moore for coming along side of me and helping me take the teams to unprecedented levels of success. I will miss many things about AU, but hope to remain part of the "family" forever. Go Trojans!"

Neal, who has been at the helm of the Anderson University men's and women's golf teams since the 2003-04 campaign, helped guide the Trojans to a combined 37 tournament championships, including six conference titles, spanning both the South Atlantic Conference and Conference Carolinas.

The Trojans also won 33 individual titles during his tenure, including five conference championships.

AU has become a fixture among the upper echelon in the region, with Neal helping guide Trojan golf to unparalled heights. While working with both teams last season and focusing on the men's squad, Neal helped lead the men's team to a No. 1 national ranking early last year and the Trojans held on to the top spot through the end of the regular season. The Trojan men earned seven tournament championships - including an unprecedented five straight titles at one point – and their first-ever South Atlantic Conference title, while making their first NCAA Southeast Region Tournament appearance since 2008.

The Trojan women wrapped up the 2022-23 season as the consensus No. 5 team in the country, after claiming their second straight conference championship and third league title in four season and finishing 10th in their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA National Championships.

In addition to conference team titles on both sides last year, the native of Winter Haven, Fla., led AU to the 2004 Conference Carolinas (CVAC) Men's Championship, along with the 2004 Conference Carolinas (CVAC) Women's Championship and the 2019 and 2022 SAC Women's Championships.

During his 20-year collegiate coaching career, Neal mentored 27 golfers that earned All-Conference honors on 54 occasions, with Kathryn Adkins (2004) and Jessica Rathbone (2023) claiming Conference Player of the Year accolades and six players claiming All-America honors nine times.

Jake Miller (2020), Rathbone (2022) and Kennedy McGaha (2023) have been named AU Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively over the past four years.

Neal, who was named Director of Golf in 2016, captured 2023 SAC Men's Golf Coach of the Year honors and was a three-time conference Women's Golf Coach of the Year (2008 Conference Carolinas, 2019 and 2022 South Atlantic Conference).

Neal enjoyed one of the most successful years in the history of the Anderson University golf program in his first year at the helm, as the Trojans swept the 2004 conference tournament titles, claiming both the Men's and Women's CVAC titles at Foxfire Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

In his first eight seasons, Neal directed the men's team to four NCAA Regional bids

Away from the links, the Trojans have claimed CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades 14 times over the past 20 seasons, while garnering Academic All-America recognition on five occasions.

Former standouts Victoria Hall, Samantha Ellison and Colt Martin were each named SAC Elite 23 Award winners, with Hall going on to be named the Women's Golf SAC Scholar-Athlete in 2021 and Miller earning Men's Golf SAC Scholar-Athlete recognition following the 2020 season.

"We are going to miss Danny and we are so appreciative of his great leadership, selfless service, authentic care, and love for our Trojans," said AU Vice President for Athletics Bert Epting. "Danny has been a tremendous coach for the Trojans for over 20 years and has taken our men's and women's golf programs to great heights! He truly is leaving AU better than he found it. We are so thankful for his friendship, his leadership, his approach and all he has done to make AU special over the years."

Neal earned a B.S. degree in physical education from Erskine and an A.A. degree from Polk Community College. He is a PGA Master Professional with Specialty Certification in Teaching.

Before coming to AU, Neal was the director of instruction at the Eagle Zone Golf Instruction Center in Greenville, S.C. for eight years. At the Eagle Zone, Neal taught more than 6,000 private lessons and developed corporate clinics and junior clinics. He was a nominee for the Carolinas PGA Section Teacher of the Year Award in 2001 and 2003.

He began his coaching career at Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, S.C., where he coached 1989 U.S. Amateur champion Chris Patton.

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