Ryan Cabbage enters his fifth year at the helm of the 49ers golf program, after guiding the Niners to their first-ever regional title winning the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional by five shots over Stanford to earn the team's berth back into the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2008. Under Cabbage, Charlotte has earned bids into three of the last four NCAA Regionals as a team. The Niners have appeared in 10 of the last 11 NCAA postseasons, 11-straight counting Franco Castro's individual bid back in 2014. He had his contract extended in the fall of 2012 to take him through the 2016 season.
The 49ers earned an at-large bid to the postseason in 2012 before winning a conference championship and securing the automatic bid into the 2013 postseason. The streak continued to 10 in 2014 as Franco Castro was selected to participate in the NCAA Raleigh Regional as an individual before the team won the Chapel Hill Regional last season.
In the Chapel Hill Regional, Cabbage helped Victor Wiggins and Thomas Rowland tie a school-record for best finish in a regional (210, -6) also seeing Raoul Menard and Seth Gandy conclude tied for 13th (214, -2). Those four rounds are now inside the top-eight best finishes in NCAA Regional school-history. The team rounds of 275 (1st round) and 279 (final round) are now second and tied for fifth in the all-time regional record book.
Cabbage has improved the team's finish in each of their three regional appearances going from 11th in 2012, to tied for ninth in 2013 before capturing the title in 2015.
The regional championship allowed Cabbage to make his first trip to the NCAA Championship as a Head Coach, making his first as a player at Auburn back in 1997 followed by eight more as an assistant at Auburn.
At the NCAA Championship, Charlotte finished 22nd overall after narrowly missing the team cut line after round three. The Niners opened the tournament tied for 14th overall after Riley Davenport led the way with a two-under round of 70. Charlotte would jump to 13th after round two improving three shots off of their team score before finishing 22nd after a rain-suspended round three. Davenport would qualify to move on as an individual posting a fourth and final round of 70 (-2) after second and third rounds of 74 (+2) and 72 (E) got him into national title contention. Davenport would get TV time on the Golf Channel during Monday's final stroke play round concluding tied for 8th in the 156-player field, becoming Charlotte's best finish ever in NCAA Championship play.
In each of Cabbage’s four seasons, he has helped guide the Niners into the top-ten of the team stroke average record book in all four years after the 291.4 average during the 2014-15 goes down as the sixth-best in school history and best under Cabbage. Charlotte posted their previous best team average in 2013-14 at 291.7, In Cabbage’s first season, the Niners averaged 292 which currently stands eighth all-time followed by the squad’s mark of 293 set in 2012-13 rounds out the top-ten.
Cabbage was named the Atlantic 10's "Coach of the Year" back in 2013 and helped guide Raoul Menard to back-to-back A-10 Championship Medalist honors in 2012 and 2013. Cabbage coached Menard to A-10 "Rookie of the Year" honors in 2012, has coached seven all-conference players and has helped his players earn 18 "Golfer of the Week" awards. Davenport was named an All-American Honorable Mention for his performance in the NCAA Championship was Wiggins was named to the PING All-Region team.
A 1998 graduate of Auburn, Cabbage was a member of the Tigers men's golf team from 1996-98 and played on the Tigers squad that reached the 1997 NCAA Championship, contested at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. He was an assistant to the Auburn men's team for 10 years and had been an assistant to the women's team for the two years prior to arriving at Charlotte.
In 2011, under head coach Kim Evans, Cabbage helped the Tigers women's team to the SEC Championship, a national rank of 13th and a 13th-place finish in the NCAA East Regional. In 2010, Cabbage helped the Tigers an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championship.
The Tigers men's team reached the NCAA Regional in nine of Cabbage's 10 years as an assistant coach and advanced to the NCAA Championship seven times. Cabbage was runner-up for the Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2004, presented by TaylorMade-Adidas golf. Cabbage coached with former Tigers head coach Mike Griffin in each of those 10 seasons.
A native of Rutledge, Tenn., Cabbage played his first two years at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., where he was the 1995 National Junior College Individual Champion.
Before coming back to Auburn, Cabbage spent a year with the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour in Opelika as a tournament director.
Cabbage is married to the former Jennifer Falkner of Marietta, Ga. They are the proud parents of three boys, twins Carson and Maddox, and Davis. He is a 1998 Auburn University graduate with a B.A. in Communications.
NCAA POSTSEASON UNDER CABBAGE:
2015: Chapel Hill Region Champs, NCAA Championship Tournament
2014: Raleigh Regional (Franco Castro)
2013: Columbus Regional, A-10 Conference Championship
2012: Greensboro Regional
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE APPOINTMENT OF CABBAGE AT CHARLOTTE:
Kim Evans, Auburn University Head Women's Golf Coach --
"You're getting one of the best people I've ever known in my life. You're looking at a very prepared golf coach who will bring a top work ethic and an attitude that is unmatched.
He's got strength in working with swings, he has incredible relationships with his players, he's a tireless recruiter, and he's extremely organized. He does it all well. As a role model that you want your players to follow - I don't think there's anyone better. He's going to have a great relationship with his team and he will bring a great attitude and a great work ethic."
Mike McGraw, Oklahoma State Head Golf Coach --
"I've spent a lot time recruiting against him and spent time with him on the recruiting trail and I love the way he conducts himself. He's a professional and he's worked for some really good coaches in Mike Griffin and Kim Evans. He's a quality person. You can feel pretty comfortable if you're a parent sending your boy to go to play with him. Your relationships with those recruits and those families - that's what makes a coach successful. First and foremost, he's a very good person. If I had a son going to college who said he wanted to play for coach Cabbage I said say 'go for it.'"
Nick Clinard, Auburn Men's Coach --
"Number one, he's a great person and a great family man. He represents the moral values and core values any athletic dept strives for. He's a great coach and he's going to do a fantastic job. He's very organized and very structured - he brings a lot to the table from a personality standpoint and a competitive standpoint."
Mike Griffin, Former Auburn Head Coach --
"Ryan was a strong, loyal assistant for 10 years and our team had alot of success. He's got all kinds of experience. He should have been a head coach a long time ago. Your university is going to be fortunate to gain his experience, knowledge and his high energy. He's not afraid to go to work. He's going to bring a lot to the table.
"He played for us and played on some outstanding teams. He has the experience of being a player on being on a really good team. He was an individual national champion as a competitor (1995 National Junior College Individual Champion at Walters state Community College). I think he had a good influence on the rest of the team. Ryan was able to mix and work well with all those people. He put everyone else at ease and helped everyone else do better. Every time I look at a picture with our team holding a trophy he was always in there."