Nearing the End of the Line

UCCS will eliminate men’s and women’s golf teams when season ends; alumni of program include 2020 CGA Player of Year Colin Prater

By Gary Baines – 2/10/2023

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs men’s golf program that produced the 2020 CGA Les Fowler Player of the Year will be discontinued — along with the women’s team — at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, according to an announcement made Thursday afternoon by the school.

One of UCCS’ most prominent golf alums is Colin Prater of Colorado Springs, the 2020 CGA Player of the Year and the winner of two CGA Amateurs (one while still in college), one CGA Match Play and the 2022 CGA Mid-Amateur.

UCCS’ announcement said the decision to discontinue the programs is “due to financial constraints and a declining budget.

“The move to eliminate the golf programs comes after an extensive assessment of all 16 NCAA sponsored programs at UCCS and ensures the remaining 14 programs (baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and volleyball) will not be affected.”

Said Nathan Gibson, the executive director of athletics at the school: “This was an incredibly difficult decision, but also necessary in order to ensure the university and department’s budget expectations were met. It will now be our top priority to make sure that we support our student-athletes through this transition.”

UCCS indicated that “eligible student-athletes receiving an athletic scholarship will have their scholarship honored in full through the 2023-24 academic year. Student-athletes who choose to transfer will be allowed to compete at that (new) institution beginning next fall.”

The school said this decision does not affect any student in the UCCS College of Business’ Professional Golf Management Program.

UCCS competes in NCAA Division II in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The UCCS men’s team is ranked 49th in the nation, according to Golfstat, while the women are 93rd.

The men’s squad, which tied for the title in their last event (the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate in Hawaii in late October) begins the spring portion of its schedule Feb. 27-March 1 at the Coyote Classic in La Quinta, Calif. The RMAC tournament will be held April 23-25 in Boulder City, Nev. The UCCS women open the spring season March 13-14 at the SMSU Spring Classic in Litchfield Park, Ariz. The women’s RMAC tournament is also set for April 23-25 in Boulder City, Nev.

The UCCS men’s roster includes four Coloradans: redshirt senior Barrett Jones of Eagle, redshirt juniors Brandon Bervig and Lucas Howell of Colorado Springs, and freshman Jake Chesler of Firestone. Phil Trujillo, a four-time RMAC Coach of the Year, has served as head coach of the men’s squad for 23 years.

Three Coloradans are on the UCCS women’s roster: senior Mackenzie Fontana from Colorado Springs, sophomore Rachel Penzenstadler of Centennial and freshman Eliana Vigil of Castle Pines. Todd Laxson is in his fourth season as women’s head coach.