Youngstown State University men’s golf coach Tony Joy has had his position for 30 years. He also graduated from YSU in 1974.
In all of his years, Joy was finally recognized with the 2013-14 Horizon League Coach of the Year award. Joy spoke on Tuesday in his office at Beeghly Center to talk about his award and his golf team.
The Penguins wrapped up their season at the conference championship this past weekend in Florida with a third-place finish. In Joy’s tenure, he’s had 17 first-team, six second-team all-conference selections and three conference champions.
Q) For all the years that you’ve been here, you finally got the Horizon League Men’s Coach of the Year award.
A) Yeah, it’s kind of a little misleading, but it’s really nice to be recognized by the other coaches. I think they realized that we played really well this spring against some really good competition and coming off of last season to this season. I think we improved more than any other team in the conference. It was very special to me. I don’t want to diminish it. It was the first one in 30 years, so maybe it might look like that I’m not a good coach because it took 30 years, but it is what it is. A lot of former players and coaches gave me a lot of congratulatory remarks through text, emails and so on. That award just reflects how well the players played. You don’t become a good coach unless you have good players.
Q) How would you say this season went?
A) They put in a pretty good effort this year. We played some pretty tough teams. Going into the conference championship, we played pretty well at Villanova’s tournament. We played really well in Indiana against some tough competition. We played really well up at the Penn State tournament right before conference. I just thought we were primed to play a little better than our third place finish in conference, but overall it was a good year.
Q) I don’t see it in here, but do you have the trophy? And are you going to put it in your office?
A) You know what? It’s in my car because it was raining so hard, but I’ll bring it in. It’s a nice plaque. I don’t know what they’ll do with it. I’d prefer to put it in the office. Since they changed the offices, they told us not to put anything on the walls until someone comes in and does it. I’ve got a couple of other nice things to put up. I’m a Hall of Fame member here. Ryan Stocke, a few years ago, qualified for regionals. I’ve got the flag, so there’s a few things I want to put on the wall.
Q) Not just yourself, but lately the women’s tennis team won a championship and the women track and field team won a couple of championships. It seems like the less-recognized YSU sports are starting to win some championships and starting to get recognized, and golf’s obviously with them. What can you say overall about that?
A) Well, I think Ron Strollo has made the effort. Obviously, he’s got a big job with the football program and basketball because those the high profile sports. I think with the non-revenue, Olympic sports, he’s made just as much effort to help us recruit better players with the facilities. In the WATTS, we have the indoor putting green area. We practice there in the winter months. And there’s just been an overall increase in the budget. To get better players, you need to have better facilities, and I think he’s made that happen. We have a nice locker room now up in the WATTS that I can show the recruits. I think that’s going to continue. Maybe The Vindicator’s not that interested in the non-revenue sports, but they should be because, really, this is where a lot of the local players come to play. Obviously, men’s and women’s tennis teams have a lot of foreign players because that’s where the competition is, and it’s not just Youngstown State. A lot of Brian Gorby’s success and my success is from local players. That’s one of those things we always take pride in. Our success is going to continue with local players.
Q) Coach, you’ve been here for a while. After winning this award, have you ever thought about maybe how much longer you want to stay here or anything like that?
A) I was pre-Jim Tressel. I think when I can no longer communicate with the players, then it’s obviously time to move on. Right now, I don’t hear too many complaints from the players or their parents or even the administration. In golf, there’s a lot of coaches that coached many years. I’ve got a lot of young players. I’d like to see them through. It’s one of those where if Ron Strollo and the people in the athletic office want me to stick around, sure. I’m probably one of the few part-time head coaches on campus. I used to operate golf courses in Warren until 2005. When I left that business in 2005, this became full time for me. It’s still a full time job even thought it’s only part time as far as the administration is concerned.