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VIProfile: Mark McEntire




Men's Golf Coach • Middle Tennessee State University 

Spring is drawing people outside and onto local golf courses. That includes the men’s golf team at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). It is a game that continuously challenges those who play it, both as a sport and as a hobby pastime.

“Golf is a game you can never get too good at,” said professional golfer and 1967 Masters winner Gay Brewer. “You can improve, but you can never get to where you master the game.” That is a sentiment that MTSU Men’s Golf Coach Mark McEntire agrees with. McEntire believes golf is a game that can be played a lifetime and that it is endlessly interesting because it is always teaching you lessons about yourself and others along the way.

MoonGolf.com relates in a blog, “Golf has long been regarded as a quintessential sport of business. Many important business meetings have taken place not in the boardroom, but out on the golf course. The golf course provides a friendlier and more laid-back environment. Many high-powered business people find that this environment allows them to forge a closer connection with their clients and business associates.”

When getting to know a client or potential new employee, a game of golf for four or five hours will not only offer full attention, but it can show someone’s true colors under pressure. Some upper level managers have even not hired someone because of the way they reacted to the pressure of the game when a shot or two didn’t go their way.

“We always tell our players that we hope you can make a million dollars and get on the PGA tour,” said McEntire, “but if not, we’d like you to use your golf skills on the course to develop relationships that will help you become a millionaire even if you don’t play professional golf. Through golf you can meet everybody and anybody. A lot of people get tired of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but any time you can take them for a round of golf.”

Pre-COVID, golf was becoming less popular and the number of players was decreasing, but golf is making a comeback, according to McEntire. Clubs are seeing an uptick in membership once again.

McEntire has certainly seen an increase in interest in his team over the last several years, and that increased interest has led to the building of a new $1.5 million MTSU facility completed about 18 months ago at The Grove Golf Course in College Grove, Tennessee. The Grove is the Blue Raider home course.

These new facilities will provide Blue Raider golfers the opportunity to practice their skills year round with three indoor hitting bays and an indoor putting green with multiple slope changes. Two of the indoor hitting bays will include TrackMan simulator studios. These simulators offer the opportunity to “play” more than 90 different courses virtually. There is also a player’s lounge, locker rooms, athletic training facilities and a study area.

“With the growth of Nashville and everything,” said McEntire, “we are just trying to keep up with that. There are a lot of people coming this way, and the brand of MTSU, a lot of people know about. It is a product known across the world now. And, we keep grafting onto the good things that Nashville is doing for us.”

The new facility and the strength of the golf program at MTSU is drawing interest from students near and far. The current MTSU Golf Team has two players from the United Kingdom and two from Estonia in Europe. The rest of the team comes from Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.

MTSU brought on McEntire to lead the men’s golf team in 2018. In his first two years, he won consecutive Conference USA titles followed by an individual championship by Michael Barnard in 2022.

“Winning the first year I came on board meant a lot because I walked into a kind of buzz saw,” said McEntire. “My predecessor took half the team that he had signed that were on the roster with him to Tennessee. We only had five players. We won the championship with the four guys who were left, one of whom has been injured in the fall, but was able to play in the spring, and one that transferred from another school. We pulled off the biggest story in college golf that year, winning the conference championship without being able to fill the team our first year. It’s a great story. We have continued to have success and been able to do recruiting.”

Coming from the College of Charleston, McEntire is the eighth head coach in the history of MTSU’s men’s golf team. Previous to his 13-year stint in Charleston, he spent one season as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University and three seasons as the head coach at Division II St. Edward’s University where he led their team to their first ever NCAA Division II Regional Tournament.

His story is filled with honors and awards, both as a coach and his teams. He has won multiple Coach of the Year awards for his work developing both his teams and individual players.

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Texas. While there, he was a four-year letterman for the Longhorns golf team. Following graduation from UT Austin, McEntire spent time working in the Longhorns’ athletic compliance office and teaching golf lessons. While he may have been born a Texan, McEntire and his family – wife Meredith and sons Ford and Grayson – feel that Murfreesboro is a special place that feels like home. They love the laid-back life style, having four seasons and the growth in the area.

“We’re excited to be here,” said McEntire. “We love living near a city everyone is familiar with, including the industry and the music industry."

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