HEAD COACH CHRIS WHITTEN
Chris Whitten enters his eighth season as the head coach and the 13th overall with the University of Michigan men's golf program. Prior to taking over the head coaching duties in 2011, Whitten spent five seasons as an assistant coach under Andrew Sapp.
In seven seasons at the helm of the Wolverines, Whitten has guided U-M to six NCAA postseason appearances -- three team and three individual. Including individual invitations for Matt Thompson (2012), Chris O'Neill (2014) and Kyle Mueller (2018) and team bids in 2015 (7th; Washington), 2016 (10th; Franklin) and 2017 (t-8th; Washington), U-M has five straight NCAA regional appearances.
With six regional appearances, Whitten has had an individual advance to the NCAA Finals twice -- Mueller in 2015 and then again in 2018. After U-M just missed advancing as a team in 2015, Mueller closed his freshman campaign as the regional runner-up moving on to the NCAA Finals, where he tied for 94th. In 2018, Mueller used a final round 66 to win the regional -- just the second in U-M history -- and head back to the NCAA Finals, where he tied for 117th. Mueller almost had three NCAA Finals appearances, as he tied for eighth at the 2017 regional, missing advancement by a single shot.
In addition to the postseason successes, the Maize and Blue have collected 30 top-five team finishes with 23 top-three showings in the regular season, highlighted by four team titles: 2017 Desert Mountain Intercollegiate (March 4-5), 2016 Dayton Flyer Invitational (Oct. 17-18), 2014 Wolverine Intercollegiate (Sept. 6-7), 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship (Feb. 14-15) and 2013 Detroit Golf Club Invitational (April 12). Additionally, U-M has captured 14 individual medalist honors with six coming from Mueller.
Whitten has been instrumental in the development of All-Big Ten golfers Thompson (2012), O'Neill (2014) and Mueller (2015, '16, '17, '18) as well as All-American honors for Mueller in 2017. Ten Wolverines earned 22 total Academic All-Big Ten honors during his tenure, while Miguel Echavarria (2012), O'Neill (2015), Bryce Evon (2017), Mueller (2017) and Tom Swanson (2017) were awarded the prestigious Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-America Scholar accolade.
In addition to academic honors earned in the classroom, Thompson (2012), Brett McIntosh (2014), O'Neill (2014, '15, '16), Mueller (2015, '16, '17, '18) and Nick Carlson (2017) each earned PING Division I All-Midwest team honors during Whitten's tenure.
During his time as an assistant coach with U-M, the Wolverines made four straight NCAA Regional appearances -- winning the program's first team regional title in 2011 -- and two NCAA Championship appearances. In 2009, the Wolverines finished sixth to advance to team match play, closing with a semifinalist finish. In 2011, U-M closed the weekend 10th, missing match play by just three shots.
Before joining the Wolverine staff in May 2006, Whitten was an assistant golf professional at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. While there, he focused primarily on membership instructional programs, clinics, and group lessons. He also assisted with tournament operations for over 90 summer golf events, including the University of Toledo's Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational during the fall.
Prior to his work at Inverness, Whitten served as the first-ever assistant men's golf coach at Notre Dame for two years (2003-05), helping the Fighting Irish win their first Big East Conference championship in over seven years during the 2003-04 season. In addition to his general assistant duties, he also helped oversee the program's recruiting as well as assisting in the formation of the Irish Golf School in 2004. He also served as the assistant tournament director for the 2003 and 2004 Big East Men's Golf Championships and the 2004 NCAA Central Regional Preview tournament.
As a graduate of Notre Dame in 2002, Whitten earned Notre Dame's Varsity Monogram Award as well as the Knute Rockne Scholar Athlete Award in 2002. He helped Notre Dame to a pair of runner-up finishes at the Big East Championships in 1999 and 2002, graduating with a degree in English and earning the distinction of Cleveland Golf/ GCAA All-America Scholar.
A native of Rockford, Michigan, Whitten has been involved in golf all of his life. He is the son of Buddy Whitten, who was formerly the head golf professional at Blythefield Country Club (Belmont, Michigan) and the Director of Instruction at Pensacola Country Club (Pensacola, Florida) as well as a member on the PGA Senior Tour in 1997 with Chris serving as his part-time caddy. Buddy was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1993.
A recent inductee into the Rockford High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Whitten was voted Most Improved Golfer as a freshman and followed with team MVP honors as a sophomore. Over his final two seasons, he was an All-Conference selection helped Rockford to team titles at the Kent County Invitational, regional and a third-place finish at the state finals.
Whitten and his wife, Dr. Amy (White) reside in Novi with their two children, Graham and Lucas. Amy, who currently works at Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, Mich.), is a 2006 graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed a Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at Wayne State University & Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD/NIH/DHHS in 2012.