Less than two months after men’s golf coach Buddy Alexander announced his retirement following 27 years on the job, the Florida Gators found his replacement in UNLV Rebels assistant coach J.C. Deacon.
An assistant with the program from 2011-14, Deacon, 31, rejoined his alma mater six years after concluding his career as a student-athlete (2001-05). He helped lead UNLV to the 2002 Mountain West Championship. Deacon then spent nearly seven years playing professionally, winning two titles in his career and working on PGA Tour Canada from 2007-10, before getting into coaching.
Deacon becomes the 15th men’s golf coach in program history at Florida, stepping in for the exceedingly accomplished Alexander, a three-time GCCA National Coach of the Year and eight-time SEC Coach of the Year who won two national titles (1993, 2011) and eight SEC crowns (1989, 1991-94, 1999, 2003, 2011) with the Gators.
“When I finally had the chance to sit down with J.C. Deacon, everything I had been hearing over and over about him was apparent. There is much to offer with our storied golf program and J.C. will bring that message to the golf community,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in the school’s announcement.
“He has what it takes to be a successful recruiter as he has built relationships with so many in the golf world. It is readily evident that he wants – and has a plan – to make the players successful in the classroom, on the course and in life. He will do things the right way because with his character and tremendous integrity, he knows no other way. J.C. will fit right in among our coaching staff and we welcome him to the Gator program.”
According to UF, Deacon is the seventh head coaching hire made by Foley who previously served as an assistant without any experience leading a program, joining Mary Wise (volleyball), Mike Holloway (track & field), Emily Glaser (women’s golf), Kevin O’Sullivan (baseball) and Will Muschamp (football) with that distinction.
Holloway (5) and Faehn (2) have combined to win seven team national titles for the Gators, Wise has placed Florida in seven NCAA Final Fours, O’Sullivan advanced the Gators to the finals of the College World Series, and Muschamp led UF to a BCS bowl in his second year with the program.
“I am looking forward to becoming part of something I truly believe in. I’ve been a big fan of the Florida program for a long time,” Deacon said in the release. “Buddy has produced nationally competitive teams throughout the years. I just know there are a serious amount of championships to be won at Florida. I have that platform now and it is up to me to go out and do the hard work to get it done.”