He’s been an assistant coach with the program for the past 18 years
The University of Minnesota Crookston athletic department has announced the promotion of Brad Heppner to head men’s golf coach. Heppner has served the past 18 seasons as the assistant coach for the Minnesota Crookston men’s golf program and has been elevated to the head post.
Heppner helped the Golden Eagles to the 2002 NSIC Men’s Golf Championship and team appearances in the NCAA Division II Super Regional in 2003 and 2006.
“There is nobody more qualified to lead our men’s golf program than Brad Heppner,” said Director of Athletics Stephanie Helgeson. “Brad has been with the program since the start in 2000 and has great passion for the team and the alumni before them. We are excited to elevate Brad to the head position and can’t wait to see what he is able to accomplish as head coach.”
“I want to first off thank Director of Athletics Stephanie Helgeson for this great opportunity,” Heppner said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity and challenge to lead the Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team. I’ve been a part of Minnesota Crookston golf since the start in 2000 as an assistant coach under Coach Tangquist and it’s been a great experience.
“As most people know, golf is a passion for myself and my family and that’s the type of players I’ll recruit,” he continued. “I want golfers with passion and commitment to the golf program and to the University of Minnesota Crookston.”
Heppner started as an assistant coach for Jason Tangquist in 2000 when the program was started. He was Tangquist’s right-hand man for his 17 seasons as the head coach, before Bryant Friskop became the head coach for the 2017-18 season. Heppner also served as the assistant coach for Friskop, who stays on staff for the Golden Eagles as head women’s golf coach and assistant women’s basketball coach.
Heppner helped the Golden Eagles to their first-ever NSIC Championship as a program in 2002. The team title remains the only NSIC Championship for a Minnesota Crookston program to this day. Heppner helped coach Branden Schwartz to a NSIC Player of the Year Award in 2002, as he finished first in the NSIC Tournament. The squad finished eighth at the 2003 NCAA Super Regional. In 2006, Heppner helped the Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Super Regional, their best in program history. He also helped guide Schwartz to a seventh-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Super Regional.
During his time with the program, Minnesota Crookston men’s golf has produced seven All-NSIC selections. Heppner has helped Matt McClure and Jake Sanders to All-NSIC First Team nods. Prior to All-NSIC teams, the Golden Eagles had 16 players finish in the Top-15 at the NSIC Men’s Golf Championship, including four players who carded five top five finishes. Schwartz placed first in 2002 and second in 2004. Nate Dahl finished third in 2002, Tommy Mueller placed fourth in 2001, while Dan Lenz finished tied for third in 2003.
Heppner also had the pleasure to help coach his son Seth Heppner, a Crookston-native, a member of the men’s golf team from 2011-16. Seth was a 2016 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar, a first for the Minnesota Crookston men’s golf program.
Heppner also works on campus at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center. His wife Kari is an elementary teacher at Highland School in Crookston.
The Golden Eagles return an experienced squad to the fold in 2018-19. The team is led by senior Ben Koisti (Sr., Lake Norden, S.D.), who averaged an 81.0 last season. Connor Humble (So., Rosemount, Minn.) also returns after a strong freshman season in which he averaged 81.3 The team low on the season came with a score of 310 at the BSU Invite Sept. 11, 2017. Koisti paced the team with a low round of 69 at the BSU Invite. Humble’s best round was a 75 on the big stage at the second round of the 2018 NSIC Men’s Golf Championship.