Fetcho likes experience—for now

By Aaron Graff

The SIU men’s golf team does not have any freshmen on the roster, but the team is happy with the structure.

Just eight golfers make up the team, four of whom are seniors.

When former coach Leroy Newton retired, he stopped recruiting to give the new coach an opportunity to fill the roster.


“I had two spots left on the team,” Newton said. “I didn’t want to take up the spots with a new coach coming in. Sometimes a coach has somebody already in mind because he was at some place. I didn’t think it would be right for me to load the team up.”

Coach Justin Fetcho said when he got the job nearly every incoming collegiate golfer knew where they were going. He took what he had and ran with it.

“It makes it challenging for me as a coach only from the standpoint that I have to try and rebuild and bring on new players to replace four outgoing guys that have played for us really throughout the fall,” Fetcho said.

Fetcho said he is happy with what he was given. He said he has heard stories from his friends that, when starting a coaching job, they were given players that did not want to be coached.

“They want me to hold them accountable for what they’re doing and I love that, to have a group like that,” Fetcho said. “I didn’t really know anything about them walking into the job. I couldn’t ask for anything better than what I have.”

Newton said he knew Fetcho was coming into a good situation, and it’s great to have such leadership.

“I knew I left him four or five seniors that were pretty good plus [junior Drew] Novara,” Newton said. “I really wasn’t worried about it. If I would have stayed I would have taken probably one freshman and one junior college kid that I had been talking with.”


With half the team graduating, Fetcho said he wants to recruit freshmen that want to be leaders on the team.

“There will be an opportunity for someone to make a name for themself and make an impact as a freshman,” Fetcho said. “Not many programs across the country do you find an opportunity like this.”

Novara said he likes the team how it is.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” he said. “It has its positives. If we had a freshman I wouldn’t be mad by any means, but I think it’s helped this year. The team chemistry has been pretty good.”

Novara said the seniors helped him adjust to the collegiate level his freshman year, and he will try to do the same.

Newton said he likes Fetcho’s high energy level, and he thinks Fetcho will eventually bring a Missouri Valley Conference Championship to the Salukis through recruiting. Newton never accomplished an MVC championship in his 18 seasons as coach.

“I think Coach Fetcho has everything moving in the right direction right now,” Novara said.

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected]on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269.