Marc Chandonnet leads Seattle U men’s golf to first NCAA appearance in half a century

Fifth-year head coach Marc Chandonnet had one lofty goal when he took the Seattle U job: to get the Redhawks back to the NCAA championships. On Monday, that vision will become reality.

Over the last three years, Seattle University golf coach Marc Chandonnet estimates that he’s put about 70,000 miles on his black Ford F-150 truck while driving around Washington state looking for recruiting gems to help fulfill his lofty vision for his program: Take the Redhawks to the NCAA golf championships.

The seed of that vision was planted in 2012, when Chandonnet accepted the Seattle U coaching position and wrote out a five-year plan that culminated in an NCAA championships appearance in Year 5.

Now, as Chandonnet concludes his fifth season in Seattle, the vision has become reality.

On Monday at the Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, the 12th-seeded Redhawks men’s golf team will make their first appearance in the NCAA Men’s Golf Regional tournament since 1965.

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“It’s one of those things I’ve dreamed about since the day I got here,” Chandonnet said. “I knew it was going to happen. I knew this was going to come. If it hadn’t happened this year, I might have been a little heartbroken.”

It’s a huge milestone for a program that was discontinued in 1980 before its resurrection in 2008 as the Redhawks transitioned back to the Division I level.

And Chandonnet has done it almost exclusively with homegrown talent. Seven of the eight men on the Redhawks’ roster are Washington natives, products of all those scouting missions Chandonnet made in his trusty black truck.

Unlike the bigger Power Five schools, Chandonnet doesn’t have 4.5 scholarships to split among his recruits. The Redhawks men’s golf team makes do with 1.8 to 2.0 scholarships, which makes it tough to compete with the likes of UW in recruiting.

“We’re grossly underfunded compared to our competitors,” Chandonnet said. “We don’t have a huge recruiting budget. So for me, it’s important that I get out and I’m able to watch these kids play. I can’t offer scholarships two years out, so I’m looking for the late bloomers who can make an impact on a program.”

From seniors Kyle Cornett (Mill Creek), Ross Kukula (Ocean Park) and Patrick Sato (Bellevue) to junior Joe Harvie (Orting) and wunderkind Zack Overstreet (Issaquah), who was recently named WAC Freshman of the Year, Chandonnet’s…

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