June 30, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
University of Virginia men's golf coach Mike Moraghan has accepted another position within the Athletic Department, Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage announced on Wednesday. Moraghan will relinquish his coaching duties and among his administrative responsibilities, he will provide assistance in the department's growing video services unit.
"Coach Moraghan has built a good foundation for our men's golf program," Littlepage said. "In addition, he's been an innovative leader developing tournaments and other activities that have promoted the sport of golf at the University and within the community. He's also recruited outstanding student-athletes that have represented the University well on and off the links. I am pleased he'll take on a key role in our expanding video services area."
Moraghan completed his 15th season as head golf coach in 2004. Since taking over the program in July of 1989, Moraghan has developed the Cavaliers into one of the nation's top collegiate golf programs. Under Moraghan, Virginia has won 23 intercollegiate tournaments, qualified for the NCAA Championships 11 out of the last 15 years and been ranked as high as fifth in the nation. In Moraghan's first five years at UVa, more Cavaliers were named All-ACC and All-American than in the previous 15 years.
"I've been privileged to work with many extraordinary young people over the years. Their success as golfers, as students, and as alumni of the University has been a source of great satisfaction for me," Moraghan said.
Virginia men's golf achieved a number of "firsts" under Moraghan. Jimmy Flippen became the first Virginia golfer to be named NCAA Freshman of the Year in 1992. That same year, Moraghan was named the co-recipient of the ACC Coach of the Year Award, the first time a Virginia golf coach had received the award. Lewis Chitengwa (1995-98) became the first black golfer to ever play at Virginia, and in 1996 he became the first UVa golfer in over 50 years to finish in the Top 10 of the NCAA Championship. Simon Cooke became the first Cavalier to be named ACC Player of the Year in 1996. In 1997, Jeremy Julie became Virginia's first Academic All-American in golf. Cooke and James Driscoll became the first Virginia golfers to be named All-American multiple times (three each). In 2003, golf team alumnus Cameron Yancey became the first Virginia golfer to earn fully exempt status on the PGA Tour.
Moraghan is also known for creating the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship in 2002 and affiliating it with the Canadian Professional Golf Tour. Moraghan also led the way in creating the Lewis Chitengwa Foundation, established after the death of his former player in 2001. The foundation's work encompasses both Africa and North America, with its focus being the creation of opportunities for young people through participation in golf.
A native of Litchfield, Conn., Moraghan was introduced to golf at an early age by his father, Martin. The elder Moraghan is a past president and tournament director of the Connecticut State Golf Association who has worked numerous major championships as a rules official for the United States Golf Association (USGA). In 1991, Martin Moraghan was inducted into the Connecticut State Golf Hall of Fame.
Moraghan graduated from Wake Forest in 1978, where he was a member of the golf team for three years. In 1979, he worked with the Florida Southern golf team under head coach Charley Matlock.
Moraghan enjoyed a successful amateur career in which he won several tournaments in New England, qualified for the U.S. Amateur, finished 10th in the Canadian Amateur and twice represented Connecticut in Tri-State Matches.
Following this amateur competition, Moraghan turned professional and competed for two years throughout the eastern United States and Canada. As a professional, he finished 12th in the Quebec Open, sixth in the Rhode Island Open and fifth in the Bangor Open. In 1981, he retired briefly from competitive golf to found Miridian Films, Inc., a sports-oriented video production company. Over the next eight years, the self-taught producer/director received numerous awards and national recognition for his video productions. His work appeared frequently on ESPN, CNN and the three major networks. A video Moraghan produced in 1988 for the USGA on putting green construction continues to be distributed worldwide.
Moraghan regained his amateur status in 1986 and continued to play a limited number of tournaments. Moraghan was the only college coach in the country to qualify for the 1998 U.S. Amateur at Oak Hill. In recent years, he finished in the Top 10 in the Eastern Amateur, the Bermuda National Amateur and the Mullingar Scratch Cup of Ireland. In 1999, he qualified for both the Virginia State Amateur and State Open; competed in the British Amateur at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland; and reached the second round of match play in the Canadian Mid-Am. In 2000, Moraghan also competed in the British Mid-Am at Royal Troon in Scotland.
A holder or co-holder of three course records, Moraghan's 62 at the Country Club of Waterbury (Conn.) in July 1999 tied the mark at the 100-year old Donald Ross Course.