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Mike Hanagan ’08: the leader behind Gonzaga’s golf program

Coach Hanagan with the 2023 WCAC Championship team

Mike Hanagan ‘08 is entering his eighth year as the varsity golf head coach and is looking forward to another successful season just like his previous seven years. Coming off of four straight WCAC Championships, the varsity golf team has been loaded with talent for years. In his time leading the golf program, he has coached 20 college commits to countless championships. Coach Hanagan’s dedication to the program has left an indelible mark on the legacy and success of the varsity golf team. 

Coach Hanagan highlighted his goals and spoke about how his objectives allow him to create such successful teams every year. 

“Every year we start by stating what we want to accomplish as a team, and that is to have a strong regular season and then peak at the right time to bring home the WCAC, Metro, and D.C. State Championships,” Coach Hanagan said. 

Underlining the goals for the season at the beginning of the year has without a doubt assisted the Eagles in their championship runs of the years. Despite just being one of Gonzaga’s numerous dominant sports programs, coaching golf has its own challenges. Coach Hanagan touched on the difficult aspects of coaching a golf team. 

“The hard part about coaching golf that I have found is taking a very individual sport and creating a team atmosphere, so what starts from the first time we begin gathering in the winter with workouts is building a team community in a very individual sport and in the seasons that we have been able to do that we have been successful,” Coach Hanagan stated.

High school golf is very unique in the sense that outside of the school season, the players participate in tournaments in which they compete individually. For some players, the school season is the only time when they play competitive golf in a team format. Coach Hanagan also gained a lot of experience in coaching basketball at Gonzaga, and that is very different from coaching golf. In basketball, the team is working together every day on a certain aspect of the game or trying to push the team in a certain direction. Golf is almost the complete opposite; the players work on their game individually, and Coach Hanagan works to bring the team together forming a competitive atmosphere in preparation for the big matches and tournaments.

Coach Hanagan pointed out how the unique style of coaching golf has helped the program develop and see success. 

“When we get together, we’re competing and so it’s just trying to structure a competitive atmosphere that is pushing and striving together. I really love to just put the players in the opportunities they need to succeed and let their scores speak for themselves,” Coach Hanagan said.

Coach Hanagan has coached many incredible players who have gone on to play elite college golf. This year’s co-captain, Patrick Pristios, mentioned how Coach Hanagan’s dedication motivates the team. 

“Coach Hanagan is a very admirable coach and does an incredible job of instilling objectives within the team. He coaches a very intense sport, but he always knows what a player needs to hear in a given situation, and is always able to keep the team motivated throughout the season,” Pristios said. 

This year Coach Hanagan looks to develop another talented team into the rapid golf season this spring.

“We have some great core of returning guys, and I think there’s some solid camaraderie already that we’re just sort of building upon. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together over the next couple of months,” Coach Hanagan said. 

As the team approaches this season, Coach Hanagan is gearing up for yet another promising season. With a history of success in recent years and yet another polished roster of players, Coach Hanagan’s direction and leadership have shaped the program’s legacy.

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