He is the only coach in America who can say it.
Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is the mecca for any coach in college athletics or the pros.
Purdue’s men’s and women’s golf coach Devon Brouse has done a little more than that. Brouse is the only coach ever to be inducted into both the men’s and women’s Golf Coaches Association of America Halls of Fame, which happened in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
“I think that’s a tribute to what we’ve been able to do on the women’s side at Purdue,” Brouse said. “Certainly, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity at North Carolina since I only coached one side (the men). But to be able to work with both sides here at Purdue has been a great opportunity. To get recognized by the two inductions is very special.”
Brouse, who graduated from Purdue in 1971 with a degree in agronomy, said that, looking back on it, he didn’t think it was in the plans to be a head golf coach in the Big Ten. However, he wanted to do something outdoors or in recreation.
Brouse did an apprenticeship for the Professional Golfers’ Association and started his golf career with two years as assistant director of the Indianapolis municipal golf course system. He then joined the University of North Carolina in 1973 as the golf director and superintendent of facilities.
In 1977, the Indianapolis native took over as the assistant golf coach to Mike McLeod at North Carolina. A year later, Brouse, whose dad was a coach, became the head coach for the Tar Heels, seemingly thrown into an important position very early in his career after McLeod fell ill.
“Golf coaches weren’t the same type of people that they are now,” he said. “Now you’re seeing pretty highly trained, qualified former players, competitors that are coaching golf teams. Back then, it was more or less a chaperone, a little bit akin to high school golf now.”
Brouse was the head coach for North Carolina for 20 years, from 1978 to 1998, coaching the likes of players Davis Love III and Mark Wilson to lead UNC to six ACC titles and 10 top-10 NCAA finishes. He was the three-time ACC Coach of the Year.
Then, with a little assurance from athletics director Morgan Burke that facilities would improve and that he would be given the best possibility to win, Brouse decided to return to his alma mater in 1998.
“I think (coaching at your alma mater) is kind of the ultimate,” he said. “Because when you’re selling the school and selling the program, and the facilities and your staff, and you’re recruiting world-class talent and players, it is a sales situation. And it’s a lot easier to sell something you believe in, something you love like Purdue University.”
At Purdue, Brouse is coaching two entire teams, a tough task for any coach. He attributes the success of balancing both to the assistant coaches and staff.
He’s had plenty of success at Purdue in his 15 seasons. For instance, he has five Big Ten women’s titles and he’s a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. He’s the 2006 and 2010 National Golf Coaches Association women’s Coach of the Year, and his team won the 2010 women’s National Championship.
“I like him as a coach because he is really honest with you,” men’s golf sophomore Enzo Perez said. “He’s going to put you in the right direction ... He has great experience because he’s been coaching for a long time.”
Jakob Ziegler, a senior men’s golfer, appreciates Brouse’s coaching style.
“He tries to really make us better players mentally,” Ziegler said. “His big statement is, ‘Starting strong, staying strong and finishing strong.’ He’s really straightforward, he tells you what he thinks. He expects a lot from us.”
Brouse said as long as he’s contributing, being productive and making the Purdue golf program better, he will continue coaching.
“If that means (until I’m) 70 years old, then maybe that’s the number – I don’t know,” Brouse said. “It’s hard to say at this point, but we certainly have a lot of work left to do.”