Michigan golf coach Chris Whitten leaving to become head of GAM

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Chris Whitten

Michigan head men's golf coach Chris Whitten is leaving his post at the end of the spring season to become executive director of the Golf Association of Michigan.

Whitten informed his team earlier this week, and the GAM made the announcement about the hire Friday.

"It was hard to tell the team this week, but I'm excited to finish the season before starting at GAM," Whitten said.

Whitten, 39, is in his eighth season as head coach at Michigan, and 13th season overall with the program. He has led Michigan to six NCAA Tournament appearances, three by the team and three by individuals. 

Before arriving at Michigan, Whitten was an assistant pro at Inverness Club in Toledo, and before that he was an assistant at Notre Dame.

A native of Rockford, Mich., Whitten graduated from Notre Dame in 2002.

With the GAM, Whitten will succeed David Graham, who announced recently he will retire in June following 18 years at the helm.

GAM vice president Chris Angott said of Whitten, "His leadership skills and connections within the golf industry will serve our organization well. His background in working with youth will help us continue to connect and reach out to the next generation of golfers."

Added GAM president Sara Wold: “Chris is very bright and extremely personable. He has an exciting vision for the future of GAM.”

Patrick Wilkes-Krier would seem to be a leading candidate to succeed Whitten at Michigan. He's in his third season as Whitten's top assistant. Michigan, led by senior Nick Carlson, will continue it season next week with a tournament in North Carolina. The Big Ten championships are in late April, with the NCAAs running throughout May.

Whitten joins GAM as it gets set to celebrate its 100th anniversary, a year-long celebration that will include a gala with Jack Nicklaus in June.

The GAM is the state of Michigan's governing body for amateur golf, with 55,000-plus individual members, and more than 400 course members. It oversees handicaps and course/slope ratings, and puts on 19 amateur championships.

Whitten, who earned a $95,000 salary at Michigan, comes from a golf family. His father, Buddy, was a long-time head professional, a two-time Michigan Open champion, and also played in what then was called the Senior Tour.

Whitten and wife Amy live in Novi with their two children.


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