June 3, 2002
ATLANTA — Five members of Georgia Tech’s national runner-up team have been named to the Golf Coaches Association of America PING All-America teams, while head coach Bruce Heppler was named GCAA Coach of the Year in an announcement by the GCAA on Monday morning.
“To have five guys play at an All-America level for an entire year is a great honor and it was a great treat for me to get to work with them this year,” said Heppler. “All five of them earned this honor for their play throughout the year, and I think that shows consistent effort and consistent success, which is the goal each year. I feel bad for them because they worked so hard and did not get what they wanted at the end of the year at the NCAAs, but they are all deserving of this honor.”
The five honorees mark the most in one year in school history, surpassing the total of four during the 2000 season, when the Yellow Jackets also finished second at the NCAA Championship.
Heading up the list of honorees is junior Troy Matteson, who was named to the first team for the first time in his career after becoming the first Tech player to win the NCAA individual championship this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Matteson becomes the eighth player to earn first-team All-America honors in school history, joining recent Tech standouts Bryce Molder, Matt Kuchar, Stewart Cink and David Duval on the list, along with Bunky Henry, Charlie Yates and Watts Gunn. Matteson was also named the recipient of the Arnold Palmer Award, given annually to the NCAA medalist.
Seniors Kris Mikkelsen and Matt Weibring earned All-America accolades for the second time in their careers in 2002, with Mikkelsen being named to the second team, while Weibring garnered third-team honors. In their careers, the duo helped lead the Yellow Jackets to 19 teams titles in four seasons, including a school-record seven team crowns in 2002.
Rounding out the Jackets’ list of honorees are rookies Chan Wongluekiet and Nick Thompson, both of who were named honorable mention All-Americans. The tandem turned in outstanding freshman seasons, each posting stroke averages below 73.00 and combining for six top-10 finishes and 12 top-20 placements. Wongluekiet was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and the pair becomes the first freshmen to earn All-America honors since Bryce Molder was a first-team selection in 1998. Both Wongluekiet and Thompson were named to the GCAA’s All-Freshman team in 2002.
After being named ACC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career, Heppler earns GCAA National Coach of the Year honors for the first time. In 2002, he guided the Jackets to a school-record seven team wins and coached junior Troy Matteson to four individual crowns, including the NCAA title, becoming the first player in school history to win four tournaments in a single season.