Director of Golf Tom Porten gives tips on how to properly line up before your golf shot
In three seasons as head men's golf coach at Northern Illinois, Tom Porten has already had a taste of success.
In his first event at the helm of the Huskie men's golf program, Porten's NIU team carded a second-round score of four-under par 280 at the Spartan Classic on Sept. 19, 2009 that ranks as the third-best 18-hole score in program history. The Huskies finished the event with a 54-hole score of 883 to take ninth-place in the 14-team tournament, determined to build on the second round score.
Over the course of the 2009-10 season, Northern Illinois did just that. Working with Porten, players made improvements, especially in all phases of the short game. The hard work paid off in the spring, when the team posted top-10 finishes in five of seven events. A fourth-place finish at the Missouri State Invite proved to be a highlight of Porten's first season, as Jeff Dick won the individual title and Griffin Bauman finished third. In the first MAC Championships of the Porten era, Jeff Dick secured a fifth-place individual finish while the team finished sixth.
The 2010-11 season produced more results; the Huskies turned in top-10 finishes in seven of the 13 events they competed in. Aided by Jeff Dick's second career individual title, NIU claimed a runner-up finish at the Bearcat Invitational in October. The performance netted the team their best finish since their victory at the 2008 Davidson Invitational. A third-place showing at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in April featured four Huskies in the top 20. NIU posted another sixth-place finish at the 2011 MAC Championships at TPC River's Bend.
Porten lost three seniors (Jeff Dick, Andrew Frame, Tim Kay) who had been anchors in the lineup for the past half decade after the 2010-11 season, making 2011-12 a rebuilding year. Under Porten's guidance, the underclassmen showed flashes of brilliancd throughout the season. NIU notched four top-five finishes, one more than in the prior year, at the Cardinal Intercollegiate, UCF Rio Pinar Invitational, FAU Spring Break Championship, and the COG Mizzou Intercollegiate. The season culminated with a seventh-place finish at the 2012 MAC Championships held at Rich Harvest Farms.
Porten, an Ohio native, has previous experience in the Mid-American Conference. He was the head men's golf coach at Akron in 2006-07, and spent one season as the associate head coach at MAC golf powerhouse Kent State in 2007-08. Prior to that, he spent 15 years at Cleveland State University as the head men's golf coach and then created and led the women's program at the school.
Porten spent much of 2008 and 2009 as Director of Instruction at GolfTEC Cleveland East in Beachwood, Ohio where he has taught more than 1,600 lessons to 200 clients, including some of the region's top collegiate and prep players. In one season as Associate Head Coach for both the men's and women's golf teams at Kent State, he assisted in all phases of coaching, recruiting, fundraising and administration for the Top 30 Division I program. While there, both teams finished with the highest ranking in school history (men - 12th; women - 13th).
Porten also achieved similar results as the head men's golf coach at Akron in 2006-07 as the Zips won a school-record four tournaments and posted their top finish at the MAC Championships with a second-place showing.
During his tenure at Cleveland State, his alma mater, Porten turned a program that did not award scholarships when he arrived in 1991 into a conference championship team in 1998. He earned Midwest Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors for that effort. Two years later, he added duties as Cleveland State's director of golf operations and head women's golf coach for the start-up program.
In his last season at CSU in 2005-06, the Vikings' men's team won the Horizon League Championship to earn the first automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals in school history. Porten picked up his third conference coach of the year honor.
At each of his collegiate coaching stops, in addition to his coaching responsibilities, Porten has been involved in managing tournaments, including events at Firestone Country Club in Akron, fundraising - through tournaments and corporate sponsorships - and community service efforts.
The 48-year-old Porten is just the third head coach in the history of the NIU men's golf program.