Ten years ago Gustavus Adolphus men’s and women’s head golf coach Scott Moe was finishing a decorated career as a student athlete, with three Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference individual titles, four conference championships, and two All-America selections. Now, a decade later, Moe is establishing himself as one of the top collegiate coaches in the country, with a men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III title and a World Junior Cup title already in his possession. Under Moe’s guidance the Gustauvs golf program has enjoyed abundant success and has seen it’s rich tradition and storied history continue.
The Gusties have not had a sub-3rd place MIAC finish since the 1980-81 season when they finished 4th. Dating back to the 1970-71 season, Gustavus has finished first 22 times, second seven times, and third three times.
During the nine seasons Moe has been at the helm of the Gustavus golf program, the Gusties have won five conference titles, and in 2003-04 they won the NCAA Division III National Championship. Moe has been named the MIAC Coach of the Year five times (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005) and has also been named the Golf Coaches Association of America’s District Five Coach of the Year on five occasions (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2001-02, 2003-04).
Recently, Moe was named head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team and helped guide the U.S. to the World Junior Cup Title.
“It was a treat to be a part of the this tournament, and to represent the United States. I learned a lot about how good the best of the best can play”, Moe said. “The exactness of their skills and their raw ability was something fun to watch. They could make 15-foot putts under the gun when they needed to,” he added.
While a student at Gustavus (1991-1995), Moe was a standout golfer winning three MIAC individual titles and playing on four conference championship teams. He earned All-America honors in 1993 and 1995 and was named a GCAA All-American Scholar in 1995.
Moe’s golf coach at Gustavus was the legendary Whitey Skoog. Under Skoog’s guidance, the Gusties won 16 conference titles in 22 years. It wasn’t until Skoog asked him to be his assistant following the 1994-95 season that Moe, an Elk River, Minn. native, thought about coaching at the collegiate level. “I had plans to follow my golf coach in high school. He was a math teacher and golf coach, and that’s what I had planned to do.”
Upon graduating from Gustavus, Moe began student teaching in Le Sueur, Minn. and was Skoog’s assistant for the 1995-96 season. “It was an honor to have Whitey ask me to join him as his assistant. Being fresh out of college with a coaching job at my alma mater was something I couldn’t turn down.”
Moe’s first season as the head of the Gustie golf program was a sign of things to come, as the Gusties finished in first place in the MIAC and had four all-conference members on the team. However, the pure talent of the golfers at Gustavus is not what Moe treasures most about his job.
“The Division III athlete is so well-rounded. Sure, they have talent and we recruit them to play golf, but they are bright kids with a future that does not include only athletics”, Moe commented.
Certainly Moe and other Division III coaches continue to have the opportunity to coach elsewhere, but the intangibles and unique atmosphere of the Division III level keep them here.
Moe’s list of accomplishments as both a player and a coach is quite long. He was an All-America selection as a player twice, and won three MIAC individual titles. As a coach, he has a national championship under his belt as well as a World Junior Cup title. When asked about his proudest accomplishments in golf, Moe’s responses were focused on his coaching career.
“Certainly my experience in Japan would be one. Being able to represent the United States and wear the red, white and blue was a great experience.”
Moe also mentioned the national title he and his team won during the 2003-04 season as being something he is very proud of.
“Also, sharing the continued success of this program with Whitey is something I value. His is my mentor and a very close friend and we have developed a special bond that is important to me.”
When asked if the success he’s experienced both as a player and as a coach adds much pressure to himself or the team Moe said, “I think I feel it more than the athletes do. Which is good. I thrive on it; the continued success makes me want it more.”
“My philosophy as a coach doesn’t necessarily revolve around winning the conference title or going to the NCAA tournament. Each team is unique and has a different focus. I want my athletes to overachieve and push their limits.”
Moe says the players that come to play at Gustavus are very talented, and their skills need only some refining. But there are other aspects to the game that Moe tries to improve for the athletes. “Most of the players that come here are talented. I want to help sharpen their mental game, and help improve their knowledge of how to play the game. The mechanics and skills are already there.”
The people Moe has met and the relationships that have developed seem to be what makes the coaching experience such a valuable one for him. The people surrounding the athletic program and the support they give make a difference in the eyes of a coach.
“We have a very supportive athletic department here,” Moe commented. “The support from Dr. Al Molde is great, and he really does a nice job of letting his coaches coach. That is something I think the coaches here really appreciate.”
It appears the relationship between Scott Moe and Gustavus has come full circle. Where ten years ago outstanding people attracted Moe to Gustavus, Moe is now the one attracting outstanding people to Gustavus The positive experience Moe had as a student athlete coupled with the fortune of being mentored by Whitey Skoog has spurned him on to continue the outstanding tradition that is the Gustavus golf program.