The golf team has had a strong start for the year after winning the Central Missouri Mule Invitational. They then attended the Northeastern State Tournament and took home 5th place out of 20 teams. Now in his 7th year here at Washburn, the man leading the charge is head coach Jeff Stromgren.
Stromgren was born in Emporia, Kansas and raised in Abilene. He has been married to his wife, Stephanie, for 35 years. He has two daughters that have followed in his footsteps and played college golf. His daughter, Whitney, went down to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to golf. Whitney is now a mother and teacher in San Antonio, Texas. His other daughter, Adin, stayed a little bit closer to home and went to Wichita State, where she became an All-American golfer. Adin is now a nurse and has kids as well. His wife, Stephanie, runs a consignment boutique called Prairie Trading Company. They sell everything from boots to dresses and even some home décor.
Stromgren graduated from Abilene High School in 1975. He then went to Cowley County Community College and then Washburn, where he played basketball and golf. Most notably, Stromgren was the basketball team MVP in the 1978-79 season. He was an All-Central States Intercollegiate Conference guard during that same season.
After graduating from Washburn, Stromgren moved to Meade, Kansas to become a teacher at Meade High School. Stromgren began his coaching career there as the head boys’ basketball coach, and he was an assistant football coach until 1982. He left Meade and went to Winchester, Kansas, where he continued his teaching and coaching career. This time, he was the head coach of the boys’ and girls’ golf teams, and he was the head coach of the boys’ basketball team. From Winchester, he traveled to Washburn Rural, where he was the head basketball coach for the boys until 1994. In 1993 he also became the head girls’ golf coach and became the boys’ golf coach in 1997.
Since retiring from teaching in 2013, Stromgren likes to fill up his free time with a few different hobbies. He goes down to San Antonio quite often to see his grandchildren and to watch them play soccer. He loves spending time around family as much as possible and when he is not with family or coaching, he loves golfing and going to the lake during the summer.
After retiring from teaching and coaching at the high school level, it was an easy choice for Stromgren to continue his coaching career at the collegiate level. To Stromgren, being the coach of the Washburn golf team is about watching players grow as athletes and, primarily, as adults.
“I love watching kids continue to grow, and become better people, better golfers. The most important thing I believe is that just to see them grow and become better as a whole. It’s really just amazing to come out watch these kids play golf and watch them grow into young adults through their four years,” Stromgren said.
Growing up, Stromgren’s parents were both teachers and coaches, which made Stromgren want to pursue the same careers.
“My parents were both in education and coached, I have coached now for 38 years, it is something that I have done all my life, and I just love every bit of it,” Stromgren said.
While some colleges use NCAA Division II coaching jobs as platforms to get Division I jobs, Stromgren believes that he is lucky to be able to be where he is now. From getting to become a high school head coach just after he graduated high school, to becoming Washburn’s head golf coach, Stromgren believes that he has been blessed.
“I have been pretty lucky. Right out of college I got a teaching job and a head coaching job and continued to move up the ladder. Now I am coaching at the college level. It is something that has been a lot of fun,” Stromgren said.
One of the main goals for most fall sports this year is to compete at a high level and add another conference title to the trophy case. For the golf team and Stromgren, that goal is still the same.
“We want to compete for a league championship. Not only that, but we want to get back to the national tournament and make a run there,” Stromgren added.
Stromgren and the golf team is off to a successful start to the season after winning their first meet of the year against eight other teams.