Former Penn State golf coach Joe Boyle dies

September 25, 2008

State College, Pa. -- Former Penn State men's golf head coach and Nittany Lion golfer, Joe Boyle, 87, died on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Boyle began his Penn State life in 1941 when he enrolled as a freshman. After his first year he left Happy Valley to serve in the Navy during World War II. He then returned to Penn State in 1946, where he began playing on the golf team. A true link to the very beginning of Penn State golf, Boyle was the captain of Penn State's 1949 team, coached by the Nittany Lions first coach, Robert "Pop" Rutherford.

From 1946-49 Boyle competed on the men's golf team and played on Penn State's 1948 Eastern Intercollegiate Championship team, the first non-Ivy League team to claim the Eastern title.

Coach Boyle graduated from Penn State in 1949 and chose to remain at the University to serve as assistant coach to the men's golf team, under Rutherford's son, Robert Jr. He remained assistant coach until 1957 before taking full responsibility as head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Boyle guided the Nittany Lions for 25 seasons, leading Penn State to seven Eastern Intercollegiate Championships (1963, '64, '66, '67, '71, '72, '73), two Big Four Championships (1971, '72) and a 197-38-1 record in dual meet competition. During his reign he also led the Nittany Lions to five appearances in the Intercollegiate National Championship (1963, '65, '66, '67, '69). Boyle also coached 11 GCAA All-America selections at Penn State including four-time All-American Dan O'Neill.

"If I could summarize Joe in one way it would be that he was a family-type of guy," said O'Neil. "I can remember how comfortable he made us all feel when we were together as a team, he made us feel more like a family. No matter where our team traveled he knew people. It is rare to find coaches, especially college coaches, who care for their teams the way Joe cared for us. He was a kind, intelligent and respectable man."

In 1987, Boyle was elected into the GCAA Hall of Fame by his fellow coaching peers. In 2007, he was named the Golf Coaches Association of America's Honor Award winner. The Honor Award is presented annually to a member of the GCAA Hall of Fame who is retired from coaching and has made a significant contribution to the game of golf.

"Joe was a coach's coach, a player's coach, a very fine player and teacher, who completely loved and enjoyed the sport of golf over his entire life," said current Nittany Lion head coach Greg Nye. "He was one of college golf's great pioneers as the sport moved from the match play era to the medal play era. I always enjoyed his golf insights and his wonderful sense of humor. It was a great honor for me, having known Joe most of my life, to present him at our annual coach's convention as our 2007 recipient of our highest coaching distinction, the Honor Award, for his coaching record and lifetime contributions to golf. He was a wonderful father and great Penn Stater."

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009