Director of golf Brad James resigns

James is taking a job in his home country of Australia.

John Hageman

The Minnesota golf program will be without the man who brought it to prominence next season, as director of golf Brad James announced he is resigning after the spring season. James will return to his home country of Australia to become High Performance Director for Golf Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport. In his new role, James will oversee the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs national teams, the rookie program and junior development league. According to James, AIS approached him in late 2009. The announcement of his resignation came on Jan. 5. Assistant Athletics Director Phil Esten said the position is a âÄújob of a lifetimeâÄù for James, but the decision to leave was not an easy one. James has been involved with the University of Minnesota for 17 years , starting out as a member of the golf team from 1993 – 96. He was an assistant coach for the menâÄôs golf team for six years until 2001 , when scandal left the future of the golf program in jeopardy. An audit found then-head coach John Means had used University funds for family membersâÄô plane tickets to travel with the team. The resignation of the long-time coach left the door open for James, who led the menâÄôs team to its first NCAA championship in 2002 as an interim head coach . James was named head coach of the menâÄôs golf team following the championship season and went on to win two more Big Ten championships in 2003 and 2007. After the amount of success James had in a short amount of time, Athletics Director Joel Maturi made James the director of golf in 2007. As director of golf, James has overseen the both menâÄôs and womenâÄôs programs, with menâÄôs associate head coach Andrew Tank and womenâÄôs associate head coach Kristine Wessinger running their respective teams. A decision on the structure of the coaching staff will be made after JamesâÄô resignation becomes effective on July 1 . No decision has made yet, with the spring season giving the coaching staff time to decide on the direction of the program, he said. While there may be uncertainty in the future of the program, Tank is confident the right choices will be made. âÄúI know that the administration is committed to the golf programs, and they are going to make a decision thatâÄôs best for those programs. IâÄôm confident in that,âÄù Tank said. As well as a respected coach, James is also a strong recruiter. Recently, both programs have signed five recruits to National Letters of Intent . James said all the recruits are still committed to coming to Minnesota despite his departure. Current players were surprised by the news but are happy for James, Tank said. The menâÄôs team will hold a meeting Tuesday to talk about the future of the program. âÄúJust like anything in life, when thereâÄôs uncertainty, they want to know whatâÄôs going to happen next,âÄù Tank said. As for the womenâÄôs program, which had its best ever season statistically last year, Wessinger said the team wonâÄôt experience any drastic changes. âÄúFor the womenâÄôs program, we are just going to move forward,âÄù Wessinger said. âÄúWe plan on being here next year.âÄù Both coaches are confident in the future of Minnesota golf and are looking forward to what lies ahead. âÄúI know the program is going to remain strong,âÄù Tank said.