One of the most respected and successful men's golf coaches in NCAA history, Richard Sykes continues to build the excellence and tradition of men's golf at NC State. In his 46th year as head coach of the Wolfpack, Sykes has guided the men's golf program into the national rankings and national prominence on an annual basis.
Leading NC State to postseason NCAA play nearly every season, Sykes always has and always will deflect the credit for the team's success to his players.
For his accomplishments at the helm of the Pack, Sykes was selected into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 by the Golf Coaches Association of America. A four-time ACC Coach of the Year, Sykes was bestowed the honor in 1982, 1988, 1990 and 2000.
During the 1989-90 season, Sykes guided the program to its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Along with that long-awaited team title came ACC Coach of the Year and District III Coach of the Year honors as well.
The Wolfpack's successful golf fortunes go beyond the conference level as well. NC State has been represented in the NCAA Championship 33 times in Sykes' career as head coach, finishing among the nation's elite for over four decades. In 2009, Sykes coached Matt Hill to the NCAA Championship, NCAA Regional Championship, and co-ACC Championship.
Sykes has coached six ACC Champions, two ACC Players of the Year, three ACC Rookies of the Year, 45 All-ACC selections and 32 All-Americans. Sykes was also elected as the coach of the West squad in the 1999 East-West All-Star matches. Sykes has also seen many former players enjoy solid professional golf careers, including Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson, Marc Turnesa, Garth Mulroy, Hank Kim, Jeff Lankford, Kelly Mitchum, Vance Heafner, Justin Walters and the aforementioned Matt Hill.
Clark and Pettersson have been Sykes' most successful protege's to date. Clark was one of 12 international players selected to compete in the 2003 President's Cup against the Americans, and again in 2005. He won the 2010 THE PLAYERS Championship for his first win on the PGA TOUR.
Pettersson won his fifth career PGA TOUR event in 2012 at the RBC Heritage and is one of only 35 active players on tour that can claim five wins on tour.
The two have each made over $18 million, ranking among the top-50 players all-time on the PGA TOUR in career earnings.
A Class A member of the PGA, Sykes was the head pro at Wendell Country Club in Wendell, N.C., before coming to NC State. Sykes is a 1968 graduate of NC State, where he earned his degree in recreation and parks administration.
Sykes was a member of the freshman track team while at NC?State, and was also on the men's varsity golf team for the 1965-66 season.
Sykes carries the title of Assistant Athletics Director for Golf Operations at NC State. He oversaw the completion of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, NC State's home golf course designed by Arnold Palmer's Course Design Company. A former member of the National Advisory Board for the Golf Coaches Association of America, Sykes has served on the NCAA Selection Committee and has been the chairman as well.
Married to the former Pam Manning of Zebulon, the Sykes have four children: David, Rick, Paige and Stacy, and five grandchildren: Alison, Cody, Samantha, Jack and Eddie.
The NC State men's golf program added a new assistant coach to its ranks on July 18, 2014. Nick Biershenk will begin his third season as NC State's assistant coach with the 2016-17 campaign.
During Biershenk's first two season with the Wolfpack, NC State qualified for two NCAA Regionals. The Wolfpack participated at the New Haven (Conn.) regional in 2015 and followed this up with an appearance in the Albuquerque (N.M.) regional in 2016.
Biershenk joined the Wolfpack after serving as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Ole Miss, where he helped the Rebels improve their Golfstat ranking from No. 84 in the nation to No. 68 in just one season. The graduate of Clemson University was the also program's recruiting coordinator.
Prior to his time in Oxford, Miss., Biershenk was the head men's and women's golf coach at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. from 2011-13. In three years of his tutelage, both programs saw impressive gains: the men's team improved from No. 124 nationally to No. 22 and the women's team leaped from No. 132 nationally to No. 10. The overall team GPA improved while he was at the helm of the program, and he also significantly expanded the school's recruiting base, adding golfers from Spain, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, and South America to his teams' ranks.
"Nick is not only a very good player, but he's also had to run his own program at Limestone with both the men's and women's teams," said NC State head coach Richard Sykes. "Then with his time at a top program like Ole Miss, he has all the experience we're looking for in someone who can help us run this program and make us better."
Biershenk was also a teaching professional at The Biershenk Golf School in Greenville, S.C. and River Falls Plantation in Duncan, S.C.
Carrying an impressive resume of personal experience, Biershenk was a professional golfer from 2008-11. While on the pro circuit, he claimed seven victories on various mini tours.
Prior to his days as a professional, he was a part of Clemson's 2003 NCAA Division I national championship team. He was also the 2002 South Carolina Amateur Match Play Champion and 2004 South Carolina Amateur Match Play Runner-Up.
In addition to all of his accomplishments, Biershenk comes from a strong golfing family. His brother Tommy is currently playing on theWeb.comTour and has crafted an impressive career since turning pro in 1997, while his other brother, Robbie, was a contestant on the most recent Golf Channel reality show, "Big Break." Robbie was also featured on "Chasing the Dream" and is a six-time World Long Drive finalist.
"When you spend time with Nick, you're very comfortable with him," Sykes added. "He has a passion for the game."
"You feel that when you're around him."
Biershenk replaces Chip Watson, who was the program's assistant coach for the last eight seasons. Following the end of the 2013-14 campaign, Watson, who is the General Manager and Director of Golf at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, resigned from his coaching post to fully focus on his position at NC State's on-campus golf course and newly-built clubhouse.