Spangler's Head Coaching Career
Career Coaching Highlights
Bill Spangler finished his 14th season at the helm of the Nebraska men’s golf program in 2014-15. The Lincoln native and NU graduate has a background of success at all levels in the game of golf, and the Huskers continue to make progress under his direction.
Spangler is a natural fit to guide the Husker men’s golf program. He followed a strong junior career in the state with a standout collegiate career and a distinguished record in the national amateur ranks. Long regarded as one of the state’s top amateur players, Spangler served as an assistant coach with the Husker women’s golf program for seven seasons. He took the reins as men’s head coach in June of 2001, replacing Larry Romjue, who retired after 31 seasons as the Nebraska men’s coach.
In his first 14 seasons as head coach, Spangler has focused on building a strong program in the Midwest. A key part of Spangler’s building process has been keeping Nebraska’s top junior players in state and building around them. Once players are in the program, Spangler incorporates a coaching philosophy that encourages his golfers to focus on their strengths, while helping them refine and improve their mental approach to the game.
Prior to the 2013-14 season, Spangler added former Husker Judd Cornell to his coaching staff as an assistant. Cornell played for Spangler from 2003 to 2006 before spending time on several professional tours.
The confidence and commitment Spangler has injected into the Nebraska program allowed NU to record back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances in 2006 and 2007. Spangler also guided the men’s golf program to four consecutive Herman Awards (2011 to 2014), which recognizes the Husker team with the highest GPA.
Dedicated to developing each player on and off the course, Spangler’s squad filled the Academic All-Big Ten team with seven student-athletes in 2013-14, bringing his total of academic all-conference honorees to 45 in 13 seasons. Ross Dickson, Ryan Grassel, Manuel Lavin, Josh Reinertson, Mike Siwa, Aaron Wong and Nathan Wong earned accolades in 2014.
Spangler’s first season in 2001-02 proved to be a confidence builder for the program. The Huskers recorded six top-10 team finishes, including a title at the Branson Creek Invitational, the program’s first team crown in three years. Jim Troy also captured an individual title at Kansas State’s Wildcat Invitational, helping the Huskers to a second-place finish.
In Spangler’s second year, the Huskers continued to make progress. Nebraska featured a mix of experience and youth, and Spangler’s leadership kept the Huskers on track. NU finished in the top six in seven tournaments in 2002-03, including five times during the spring. Three seniors led NU, while Spangler also oversaw the emergence of freshman Judd Cornell.
Spangler’s third Husker team made steady improvements from the fall to spring schedule. Nebraska finished second or higher in three consecutive tournaments in the spring, including a victory at the Pepsi-Cola Invitational. The Huskers’ spring success came despite a roster that included just two seniors and no juniors.
In his fourth year, Spangler guided the Huskers to a season-opening home tournament victory at the Fairway Club Invitational, and the team went on to snag three more top-10 finishes in the fall. In the spring, the squad tallied four more top-five spots as well as the second tournament victory of the year at the Branson Creek Invitational.
The Huskers opened the 2005-06 season by winning their own Fairway Club Invitational at Firethorn Golf Club. Spangler’s team used the momentum of that victory to record three top-five finishes in the fall and put itself in position for an NCAA Regional berth. Nebraska continued its success into the spring season, where the Huskers placed in the top five four times, including a first-place finish at the Branson Creek Invitational in Branson, Mo., in April. Nebraska capped the year with a sixth-place finish at the Big 12 Championship, its highest in seven seasons. NU went on to make its first NCAA Regional appearance since 1999 and finished 22nd at the Central Regional.
In 2006-07, Spangler’s squad finished second three times while recording seven top-five finishes for the second consecutive season. The Huskers again finished sixth at the Big 12 Championship and came in 21st at the NCAA Central Regional. Perhaps the best golfer in Spangler’s tenure, Brady Schnell capped a terrific career with an outstanding senior season in 2006-07. Schnell captured the Ron Moore Invitational title, while recording eight top-10 finishes and four top-five showings. Schnell finished third at the Big 12 Championship to become the first golfer under Spangler to earn All-Big 12 accolades.
In 2007-08, freshmen Andrew Wyatt and Mike Coatman led NU to an 11th-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. Wyatt’s 75.33 stroke average was the best freshman mark posted by a Husker in 10 years, and Coatman competed in every round for Spangler.
The following year, Spangler built for the future with his young Husker squad. Although the Huskers finished 11th at the Big 12 Championship for a second straight season, NU got positive performances throughout the season from its underclassmen. Crick became the fourth golfer in Spangler’s tenure at NU to win an individual title, and Coatman posted a team-best 74.15 stroke average. Six of the top seven stroke averages were posted by underclassmen, and 85 percent of the rounds played in 2008-09 were by underclassmen.
In 2009-10, the Huskers just missed out on qualifying for a regional appearance. NU captured two team titles in the spring for the first time in four years, and Spangler guided the Big Red to five top-three finishes and seven top-five finishes on the season. The Husker lineup posted a 292.41 stroke average in 2009-10, which ranked as the best for a Spangler-coached team. In addition, Crick qualified individually for the NCAA Regionals, finishing in a tie for eighth at the event.
The team experienced success in 2010-11, recording four top-three finishes and five top-five results on the season. In addition, senior Mike Coatman earned his first individual title as a Husker at the Fairway Club Invitational in September. Fellow senior Andrew Wyatt qualified individually for an NCAA Regional, finishing in a tie for 41st in Erie, Colo. The Husker lineup produced a 296.86 stroke average in 2010-11.
In 2011-12, the team entered a new era as members of the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers opened the season on a good note with a victory at the Fairway Club Invitational. Senior Scott Willman led NU in nine out of 11 tournaments, earning a 73.24 stroke average in the process. At the end of the season, he earned a trip to the NCAA Regional in Norman, Okla., and tied for 40th.
In 2012-13, newcomers Kolton Lapa and Matt Record led the team to nine top-10 finishes. The Huskers captured the Fairway Club Invitational crown in September, where Kevin Gillick tied for first. Lapa led the team in stroke average (74.27) and was the only Husker to tee it up in every tournament. Record produced a 74.73 stroke average and compiled a perfect 3-0-0 mark at the Big Ten Match Play Championship.
In 2013-14, the Huskers earned seven top-10 finishes, highlighted by a runner-up result at the Oak Hill Intercollegiate. Ross Dickson appeared in every tournament during the season, while senior Matt Record had a strong spring, where he led NU in four of its six events.
Seniors Calvin Freeman, Ross Dickson, Josh Reinertson and Mike Siwa led the 2014-15 team to six top-10 finishes. Freeman, who started every tournament during the season along with Dickson and Reinertson, led the Huskers with a 74.94 stroke average. Freeman's year was highlighted by a tie for third at the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational.
Spangler’s goals have always been and remain building the Husker program into one of the conference’s best, and making Nebraska golf a permanent fixture in NCAA postseason competition. He has the knowledge to accomplish those goals after helping the Husker women’s program reach those same heights.
During his seven seasons as an assistant to Nebraska women’s coach Robin Krapfl, the Huskers reached NCAA Regionals five times, including an appearance in the 2000 NCAA Championship.
Spangler also experienced success in collegiate golf as a player. He was a member of the Arizona State golf team from 1980 to 1982, then transferred to Nebraska to play for Romjue. Spangler’s Husker career was highlighted by an individual and team victory at the 1984 Kansas Invitational, and he lettered for Nebraska in both 1984 and 1985.
In addition to his collegiate accomplishments, Spangler racked up an impressive amateur golf resume starting as a junior player and continuing to the present. He captured his first state championship in 1979, winning the Nebraska Junior Amateur at Beatrice Country Club. Spangler captured the Nebraska State Match Play Championship in 1987 at Lochland Country Club in Hastings, the same year he qualified for the match-play portion of the competition at the U.S. Amateur. His outstanding season in 1987 earned Spangler the first of his two Nebraska Amateur Player-of-the-Year awards.
Spangler was the runner-up in the 2000 Nebraska Amateur Championship and represented the state in the U.S. Mid-Amateur that fall. His play earned him a second Nebraska Amateur-of-the-Year Award at the conclusion of the season.
In addition to his 1987 U.S. Amateur appearance, Spangler also played in the country’s most prestigious amateur event in 1986, narrowly missing the cut for match play. Overall, Spangler has participated in eight USGA tournaments, and is also a two-time Lincoln Men’s City Champion, and was the runner-up in the Trans-Mississippi Amateur in 1985.
Spangler again played strong at the 2008 Nebraska State Match Play Championship at ArborLinks in Nebraska City, 21 years after his Nebraska Match Play title. Spangler made a run to the final eight of the 64-man field, before bowing out to Husker Brandon Crick - the eventual champion. At the Nebraska Amateur Championship the following month, Spangler played well enough for four rounds to earn a top-15 finish.
Spangler graduated from Nebraska in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is married to the former Alesia Dodson and they have two daughters, Cameron and Elsa.