June 22, 2011
Houston - Rice University director of athletics Rick Greenspan has announced the hiring of Justin Emil as the Owls' new head coach for the sport of men's golf. Emil comes to South Main after spending the past five seasons as assistant men's golf coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
"It is a great honor to be a part of such a prestigious institution and I am really looking forward to working with the current team of fine young men and a staff full of wonderful people in athletics," said Emil. "Many thanks to Rick Greenspan and Leslie Claybrook (senior associate athletic director) for their hard work during busy times in college athletics."
"Justin brings the qualities that are critically important for a successful Rice coach." Greenspan noted. "He is bright, articulate, passionate and has served very effectively at a similar institution that competes in the classroom and on the golf course at the highest level. He has strong beliefs that academic excellence and athletic greatness are not mutually exclusive. Justin has a very solid plan for growing our golf program competitively, being actively engaged in community outreach and fund raising and being a strong member of the Rice community," Greenspan added.
During his time at Vanderbilt, the Commodores won three team championships -- the Samford Intercollegiate, the 2009 Seminole Intercollegiate, and the 2008 Kauai Collegiate Cup -- and boasted four individual winners while earning postseason NCAA berths in 2007, 2009, and 2010.
Emil is still active on the golf course. In off-season competition, he placed 31st at the 2009 Tennessee State Amateur and finished sixth at the Tennessee State Mid-Amateur in the fall of 2009. In May of 2009, Emil regained his amateur status after five years of professional golf.
He finished second in the Tennessee PGA Section Assistants Championship (74-67) in 2007, qualifying to play in the Taylor Made/adidas PGA Assistants Championship.
He also has played a big role in the development of Vandy Golf Day, which has raised over $150,000 for the golf programs the past four years. He also helped introduce the Mason Rudolph Award, a special honor for service to Vanderbilt golf, which pays homage to former PGA Tour star and Commodore golf coach emeritus Mason Rudolph.
Prior to Vanderbilt, Emil served as a golf professional for Windance Golf and Country Club in his native Gulfport, Miss. In that capacity, he was in charge of budgeting, purchasing, and organizing inventory for the golf shop and taught golf lessons to adults and held annual golf camps for juniors. He also directed all tournament operations for member events, local outings, and state golf association
As a collegian, Emil enjoyed a stellar playing career at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a four-year letterman. He earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2000, and was named All-Conference USA Second Team following his senior season in 2003. Emil has also qualified for the United State Amateur Championships in 2002 (Oakland Hills) and 2003 (Oakmont).
Emil earned his bachelor's degree in sports administration from Southern Miss in 2002. He also received his master's degree in sports management in 2004, from Southern Miss while working with Golden Eagle golfers as a graduate assistant.
Justin and his wife Amber are excited about their eventual move to the Bayou City.
"My wife, Amber, and I are thrilled to be a part of the Rice community and we can't wait to start a new life in the great city of Houston. Go Owls!"