Monday, July 16, 2012


KU golf mantra: no brats


High school golfers might think carding low scores automatically results in earning a college scholarship, but so much more enters the equation, according to a man who makes the decisions.

“It’s all about the little things,” new Kansas University men’s golf coach Jamie Bermel said by phone from his home in Fort Collins, Colo. “We’re still a team. How good of a team member can you be? Can you do everything from school to golf to your social life and keep them in balance? How are you going to react when mom and dad aren’t there every day? There are so many factors you have to look at.”

Spoiled brats need not apply for the Kansas golf team.

“They don’t work out,” he said. “They just never do.”

In 20 years as a Division I head coach (five at Drake, two at Iowa State and 13 at Colorado State), Bermel has developed a keen ear for warning signs. He listed a few things he called “major turnoffs.”

“When they’re playing golf, if they tell their parents to go get them a drink,” Bermel said. “You’re telling your parents what to do? How about asking them? If they’re telling their parents what to do, are they going to tell me what to do?”

Something tells me that wouldn’t work out too well.

“Being disrespectful out on the golf course, the language,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of pressure, but there’s no reason to be disrespectful. I’ve walked away from kids then see them four years later and they’re an All-American.”

No hint of regret in his voice. He’s not interested in having jerks represent the university that pays him. That shrinks the recruiting pool, but it’s not as if he’s loaded his teams with a bunch of stiffs hindered by outside-in swings and take-it-back-slowly-and-lunge approaches. He hasn’t been coaching guys who routinely pull putts, take two to get out of the sand, space out and hit the wrong ball (in some cases when it’s not even the same color), have more moving parts than a break-dancing octopus, swing so hard with a sand wedge they fall into the pond, whiff chips, show such poor balance they draw semicircles on the tee box with their back foot, hit the same tree twice on one hole and repeatedly make sure the golf ball stays hydrated on hot days.

OK, enough about my weekend. Back to Bermel’s career. Two of this year’s top 20 PGA Tour money winners — No. 3 Zach Johnson at Drake and No. 20 Martin Laird, a Scotsman who played at Colorado State — played for Bermel. Johnson’s only other offer came from St. Ambrose Univeristy, an NAIA school in Davenport, Iowa. Laird chose Colorado State in favor of offers from Rice, USC and Vanderbilt. Offering Johnson, who won the John Deere Classic in a sloppy playoff Sunday, suggests Bermel can evaluate. Landing Laird, whose name he learned from a recruiting service, proves he can sell. Good hire.


theboehr89 9 years, 10 months ago

Definitely thought the headline was referring to bratwurst.

Bville Hawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Bummer, I can see where you would be seriously disappointed.

Eric TheCapn 9 years, 10 months ago

Me too. And I was like, "Nah guys, eat ALL the brats." Remember how good John Daly used to be?

Graczyk 9 years, 10 months ago

I understand that golf is not football or basketball where talent trumps character, but this article makes it seem like the new coach is not willing to invest in a good player with some maturation issues. I realize that the less the coach has to deal with personality issues the more he can focus on golf skills, but still...

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 10 months ago

While I could see how you read that in the article, I think it might have been because of one of the most common Keegan writing traits. He tends to gloss over important things and spends too much time trying to be funny that he loses the reader and never forms a complete article to read.

Although the article paints a picture that the slightest whiff of personality trouble is a sign to move on, I believe Bermel's recruiting tactics may echo that of Coach Self. Find the best players possible that fit into the system you are trying to build and are willing to sacrifice ego for the sake of the team. Either way, I'm pumped by the hire and really impressed that Dr. Z is putting in the time to improve all the sports.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 10 months ago

I doubt if he is surprised by immaturity in an 18-year-old. I think what he is avoiding is the kid who has been told from age 3 that he is the best athlete in the world, and treated like it by everyone. We see them in all sports, the ones who expect everything and give nothing. The entitled ones. The ones who already know the best way to do everything. Remember the McEnroe tantrums on the tennis court? Those kids may be good, but not team members. Trying to coach them would be a nightmare and they would probably drive off other team members.

Eric TheCapn 9 years, 10 months ago

Shouldn't their mantra be, "Be the ball," or something that has to do with golf? I don't really see the team chanting, "No brats," for concentration. If that's their mantra, or the coach's, they're going to have a very bad year.

I'm hoping that's not the case and the writer just doesn't know what "mantra" means.

Eric TheCapn 9 years, 10 months ago

If you buy a KU Golf shirt or poster this year, it will say, "No brats," right below the Jayhawk logo.

Bville Hawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, someone (Keegan or the headline writer/editor) should have checked the definition (I had to) to make sure they were using 'mantra' correctly (they weren't).

Thanks for the education!

kerbyd 9 years, 10 months ago

"No brats" that can't be any worse than "Believe".

Bob Reinsch 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm more than happy with the idea of no Brock Berglunds on the golf team. I wish the new coach the best of luck, and hope that Kansas Golf has many years of success.

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