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Neher Named Interim Golf Coach

Jan 19, 2006

BOULDER - Brad Neher, the former University of Colorado golfer who served as the assistant to the late Mark Simpson for over six years, has been named interim head coach of the program, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Thursday.


Simpson passed away from complications due to lung cancer on December 5 after coaching the program for 29 years.  Neher joined him as the top assistant in the summer of 1999, and his six-and-a-half years as assistant coach in the longest such service in school history.  Simpson was unable to travel with the team last fall, thus Neher assumed the role of traveling with the team and coaching at tournaments, though Simpson continued to run a few aspects of the program through most of his illness.


The two also worked together to sign three highly regarded prep recruits during the early signing period in November.


"Brad has handled some very tough circumstances, with a great deal of professionalism," Bohn said.  "We are fortunate to be able to call upon his leadership.  Dealing with the sickness and death of a close friend and mentor and yet also having to serve in that same exact role to our current student-athletes is a formidable task."


Neher will coach the team on an interim basis until a search later this spring produces CU's next full-time coach.  He has expressed his interest in succeeding Simpson, who along with the late Les Fowler are the lone head coaches of the program since 1948.


"It's an ultimate privilege considering my background, growing up around here and being fortunate enough to letter for the Buffaloes," Neher said.  "My dad played baseball here and my grandfather had so many ties to CU, there's no question that this was a goal in my life, though it's tempered because it's happened under very unfortunate circumstances.


"The tradition of CU and my relationship as a former player and outright fan of CU makes this an extremely prestigious honor, and will work as hard as I can to exceed any and all expectations.  I look forward to having a lot of success from all the things I learned, especially from Mark.


"Through my years of coaching, I've felt a lot of passion, and right now it's at the highest level it's ever been," Neher added.  "I can reiterate what Mark once said about working here.  It's my dream job and I could work 24 hours a day if I didn't have to sleep."


Neher, 33, returned to his alma mater four years after his graduation.  He earned his bachelor's degree in communication in 1995 after lettering two years on the Buffalo golf team, playing the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons for Simpson.  He played in 10 tournaments as a junior, with his top finish a 20th place effort at the CU-Fox Acres Invitational in Red Feather Lakes, and in three meets as a senior, including a ninth place finish in Colorado State's Cables End Invitational. 


Following his graduation, he competed professionally in several tours in North America, recording six top 10 finishes as a touring pro.  He has worked with the world-renowned golf teacher Bob Toski since 1990, and still participates occasionally in regional tournaments and opens.


Neher is the founder and former CEO of the ACE Golf Foundation, a non-profit organization that benefits junior golfers.  He created the foundation in 1996, and brought it to fruition four years later.  In 2002, he merged his foundation with the highly respected Gold Crown Foundation (run by former Denver Nugget Bill Hanzlik and Ray Baker), and is now the director of golf instruction for the organization.


In addition to working as the director of instruction at Eagle Trace Golf Club in nearby Broomfield, he served as the tournament director for the CU-Stevinson Ranch Invitational and the Buffalo Pro-Am.  In the summer, he coordinates the NIKE Junior Golf Camp in Boulder.  He will suspend most of his side ventures in his role as interim head coach, as the assistant is a part-time position.


Prior to attending CU, he lettered two years in golf at Broward Community College (Pompano Beach, Fla.), where he earned an associate of arts degree in 1992.  He tied for 12th in the 1991 Florida State Junior College Championships, one of several top 20 finishes he posted in junior college, along with six victories in amateur competitions in the state.


He was born February 29, 1972 in Denver and graduated from Littleton High School, where he lettered in golf.  He set 24 records during his prep career and was a second-team all-state performer as a senior.  His father (Fred) played baseball at CU, where an uncle (Jim) also played on the freshman team.  His late grandfather (Fred, Sr.) was an accomplished cartoonist a long-time supporter of CU athletics.