Courtesy of NIU Sports Information
DeKALB, Ill. - Tom Porten, a proven collegiate head coach, top-level golf instructor and Midwest native, has been named the new head men's golf coach at Northern Illinois University, NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced Thursday.
Porten is an Ohioan who brings experience in the Mid-American Conference to the NIU post as he was the head men's golf coach at Akron in 2006-07, and spent one season as the associate head coach at MAC golf powerhouse Kent State in 2007-08. Prior to that, he spent 15 years at Cleveland State University as the head men's golf coach and then created and led the women's program at the school.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Tom Porten and his family to the Huskie family," Compher said. "In a strong field of candidates, Tom's head coaching experience, familiarity with the Mid-American Conference and overall knowledge of golf, especially in this part of the country, made him a great choice to lead the Northern Illinois Men's Golf program."
Porten said he was happy to be returning to collegiate coaching, especially in the Mid-American Conference.
"I am very excited to be back in the Mid-American Conference at Northern Illinois University," he said. "To be chosen as the next men's golf coach at Northern Illinois is an honor and I want to thank Jeff [Compher] and [Senior Associate Athletic Director] Tim [McMurray] for bringing me on. Northern Illinois has made a commitment to men's golf and I feel privileged to be able to take the program to another level. I believe we can build a top tier program here."
The 45-year-old Porten said that the Huskie program has a lot to offer.
"This is a terrific opportunity to recruit young men to a great school in the Chicago market with outstanding facilities," he said. "With Rich Harvest Farms [currently hosting the Solheim Cup], the HIT Center and the new short-game facility at Kishwaukee Country Club, NIU's facilities are as good or better than any in the MAC."
Porten has spent the last year as Director of Instruction at GolfTEC Cleveland East in Beachwood, Ohio where he has taught more than 1,600 lessons to 200 clients, including some of the region's top collegiate and prep players. In one season as Associate Head Coach for both the men's and women's golf teams at Kent State, he assisted in all phases of coaching, recruiting, fundraising and administration for the Top 30 Division I program. While there, both teams finished with the highest ranking in school history (men - 12th; women - 13th).
Porten also achieved similar results as the head men's golf coach at Akron in 2006-07 as the Zips won a school-record four tournaments and posted their top finish at the MAC Championships with a second-place showing.
During his tenure at Cleveland State, his alma mater, Porten turned a program that did not award scholarships when he arrived in 1991 into a conference championship team in 1998. He earned Midwest Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors for that effort. Two years later, he added duties as Cleveland State's director of golf operations and head women's golf coach for the start-up program.
In his last season at CSU in 2005-06, the Vikings' men's team won the Horizon League Championship to earn the first automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals in school history. Porten picked up his third conference coach of the year honor.
At each of his collegiate coaching stops, in addition to his coaching responsibilities, Porten has been involved in managing tournaments, including events at Firestone Country Club in Akron, fundraising - through tournaments and corporate sponsorships - and community service efforts.
Porten becomes just the third head coach in the history of the NIU men's golf program. He succeeds John Cleary, who resigned after seven years at the helm of the Huskie team to take a position at Texas Tech University.
Northern Illinois lost just one senior off the 2008-09 team that recorded its best finish at the MAC Championships since the school rejoined the league in 1997. The Huskies are slated to open the 2009-10 season at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational Sept. 19-20, 2009 in Kingsley, Mich.