Photo by Matt Miller

Former Husker Golf Coach Dies at 80

By Brian Rosenthal

Larry Romjue, who coached the Nebraska men’s golf team for 31 years and led the Huskers to their highest national finish in school history, died Tuesday in Lincoln. He was 80.

Romjue, a lifetime member of the PGA of America, retired from Nebraska in 2001, two years after leading the Huskers to a second-place finish in the Big 12 Conference and a 14th-place finish at the 1999 NCAA Championships.

Romjue once said that team was “by far” the best he had in his coaching career. It included four local players, Scott Gutschewski (Omaha), Steve Friesen (Lincoln), Ryan Neitfeldt (Grand Island) and Seth Porter (Hastings), along with Jamie Rogers and Josh Madden.

“They were a talented bunch, they had a lot of experience and they were committed to achieving high,” Romjue said then. “I don’t think in my wildest dreams we would be this successful five years ago. Now we come to expect that success.”

Gutschewski and Friesen (pictured above, right, with Romjue) both made their PGA Tour debuts in 2004 at the ATT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Both currently play on the Web.com Tour.

“Coach Romjue did a great job of coaching us as well as letting us discover who we were on our own,” Friesen said in 2005 interview with the Daily Nebraskan. “We, as players, had a love for competition and a huge desire to work hard and improve.”

Romjue also began recruiting international players at a time the practice was uncommon. He credited former Director of Athletics Bill Byrne, who knew of a person with contacts in Australia from Byrne’s time at Oregon. That helped Romjue land Trent Morrison, his first Australian recruit.

“Once you get the first one, recruiting others is easier because they have friends,” Romjue said then.

Romjue also served as the first head coach of the Nebraska women’s golf program, which began competition in 1975, and coached both the men’s and women’s programs through 1979.

Under Romjue, the women won the 1975-76 Big Eight Conference title, qualified for the 1976 AIAW Championships and finished second at the AIAW Region Six meet in 1977. Other first-place finishes for the women under Romjue included the Omaha Invitational and the Wichita State Invitational in his final season.

A 1956 graduate of Nebraska City High School, Romjue attended Nebraska and was a member of the golf team, the N Club and president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also joined the ROTC program, and after graduating, continued his military service as an Army officer until 1965.

Romjue is survived by his wife Carolyn; his son, Chip; daughters, Beth Schott and Kit Jennings; two brothers, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. There will be no public memorial service.

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.

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