Recruiting a group of young men from all parts of the world and bringing them together as a nationally ranked top-10 team is one of men's golf head coach Bill Montigel's skills.
However, if anyone asked the coach about his recruiting capabilities, he said he does not take any recognition.
Montigel has been a member of the Horned Frog athletic family for nearly 34 years, with his last 25 as the men’s golf coach.
Montigel came to the university in 1979 as an assistant basketball coach. Eight years later, the basketball coach retired, leaving Montigel without a position. He soon learned of the vacant TCU men’s head golf coach position and applied.
“The real reason I took it was because I had a real passion for golf, and I thought it would give me chance to work on my game every day,” Montigel said. “Then after I got the job, I realized that’s the last thing you ever get to do because you are so busy doing everything else.”
Senior Eli Cole said his coach is legendary in the college golf world as a great recruiter. At almost every tournament, other coaches come up to the Frogs and tell them how good of a recruiter their coach is.
Cole said Montigel’s campus tour helped solidify his decision to become a Horned Frog.
Montigel took Cole and his father around campus and some local golf courses. Cole said Montigel’s personality was what really impressed him and his father.
“We both felt it was a productive environment to come to, and he just gave that vibe that you could trust him,” Cole said.
Trust in Montigel is also something that helped senior Daniel Jennevret commit to TCU all the way from Sweden.
Jennevret met Montigel during the European Team Championships. Jennevret said Montigel was different from other coaches trying to recruit because he picked out the main things that really make a difference in a program.
“Everything he values and thinks is important is just what I think, too,” Jennevret said. “Practicing by myself and getting to do what I need to do. That’s what I found very important. Coach lets us do our own thing, whatever we need to work on."
Montigel, however, said he disagrees with his players. He said his players give him too much credit because TCU is a place where people want to come and play.
“The truth is I have a lot to sell. We have a great university,” Montigel said. “The golf courses these kids get to play, the weather we have, and TCU have made it possible for us to play in great tournaments. It’s not really something that I do. We are just fortunate to have so many really good things that this is a great place for a kid to come and play golf.”
Senior Pontus Gad, also from Sweden, said Montigel is very supportive and will help with whatever he needs.
“He came and visited me in Sweden, which I thought was really good,” Gad said. “It showed me that he was interested in seeing how I had it back home and what I was coming from.”
Sophomore Julien Brun, No. 4 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin individual collegiate rankings, said he wanted to come to TCU because Montigel had plenty of college golf experience from being head coach for a quarter of a century.
The players not only respect their coach, but they also have good stories about him.
Jennevret said he remembers beating UCLA his freshman year by 25 strokes and then hearing the Bruins' coach talking to his team saying, “We actually got beat by a team with a basketball coach with no assistant. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Cole said Montigel does not micromanage the team. He lets the players figure things out on their own as opposed to other coaches who want to be involved in every aspect of a player’s game.
He said Montigel did not over-coach freshman Paul Barjon in his first college career victory at the U.S. Intercollegiate Tournament March 30. Cole said other coaches would have coached Barjon every stroke because of his age.
"[Barjon’s] going to learn a lot more relying on himself than relying on someone else," Cole said. "Coach is a high-level thinker. He thinks ahead, and he always has a purpose for what he does.”
Barjon said he came to TCU because he wanted a coach who did not order him around. He said he likes having the freedom to practice whenever he wants and as much as he wants.
“During the tournament, it was funny because coach watched me during the last two rounds,” Barjon said. “He was not saying too much, but when I saw him, he asked how I was doing and told me to just keep calm and do not be so excited. Just follow the game plan.”
Montigel said he loves his job and wants to continue coaching the men’s golf team for as long as the university is willing to keep him around.
Montigel does not like comparing teams, but said his current team is one of his favorite groups of guys he has had.
“All five of them who are playing are just absolutely incredible to be around," Montigel said. “They are so committed to getting better. It’s just an absolute pleasure to be around these guys, and I’ve never had a group so motivated and worked so hard.”