Colby Huffman was searching for someone to help his golf team in many ways.
Huffman, the Butler head men’s coach, needed an assistant before the 2022-23 college season. Huffman needed someone to help him with mental and swing approaches as well as playing experience at different levels. He needed someone who could help his team reach new heights.
Enter Shaun Micheel. Yes, that’s the major champion who won the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill his only PGA Tour title.
Huffman stated that he had asked his coaching friends for their opinions about certain people. “I called Shaun from the blue. He was keen to coach.”
Micheel isn’t done with his playing career — he still practices between his daughter’s soccer games and visiting his older children at Ole Miss college — but he’s starting to look at what the future holds. Micheel was able to open doors for coaching after Huffman’s call and the relationship they had before that. Huffman hoped that the Butler men’s team would have a PGA champion by the spring.
Micheel stated that he has given many speeches at clinics, where he offered his advice and never got to see the results. You may never get to see the person again if you help them out in a pro-am.
Micheel (53), will now be able to witness that advice unfold over the course of this season.
Huffman stated that he met Micheel almost a decade ago, and they have kept in touch ever since. Micheel was able to accept the position of assistant even though he lives in Tennessee.
He will not be there at all practices, and he won’t be present at every tournament in Butler’s fall season. In October, he made his debut at the Xavier Invitational. His impact is not to be underestimated, even though Micheel might not be as involved as Huffman.
It’s an early flight from Toronto to Cincy for my first event in Assistant Coach for @ButlerUGolf and @XavierMGOLF Hosting. pic.twitter.com/BxnEeMukh0
— Shaun Micheel (@shaunmicheelpga) October 9, 2022
Numerous phone calls and messages have been exchanged with team members. It’s safe to say that Butler’s student-athletes use Micheel’s expertise to their advantage.
They should. It is almost impossible to find a college coach who has been a major champion.
Micheel stated, “It’s been a long while since I was at a tournament as a nonparticipant.” “I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Don’t be a competitor with first-tee jitters. Micheel acknowledged that he used them as an assistant.
Micheel was gaining an understanding of how to assist during his first tournament, much like a golfer figuring out the course’s play during a round.
He had to decide whether to speak up and tell one of the players or how much to say to him when they called him. He tried to take in as much information and then step forward to help players succeed.
Micheel stated, “I didn’t want to put myself into a situation where a player wanted me to hit a shot. And I talked him out.” Micheel said, “I believe that it goes back to the professional level with a players-caddie relationship. It’s difficult.”
Micheel stated that he told Huffman that it was difficult to know when to speak up. Micheel, as an assistant, is reading the players and not the greens. He embraces the challenge of this new role. However, his playing career isn’t over yet.
Micheel will be final-stage qualifying in Scottsdale next week to help him achieve his goal of becoming a PGA Tour Champion. He plans to visit Butler’s campus in Indianapolis this Winter to meet some of the staff from the athletic department, and to chase Champions status.
This will give him an additional opportunity to get to know the team better heading into spring.
Huffman stated that “pretty much everybody on the team wants it to be a pro.” He can offer these guys life advice, playing wisdom and much more.
These lessons were important and Micheel will continue to improve his game. As an assistant coach at Butler, Micheel can likely learn as much as the players from him.
Micheel stated that he doesn’t plan to quit playing golf to become a full-time college coach. “But I mean that, with all the injuries I’ve suffered, maybe there’s a chance that that opportunity might come along the way.” It’s impossible to predict, but I will play for now and try my best to get to these events as soon as I can. These young men need my help.