Eastern Mennonite University has announced the hiring of Wendell Eberly as the school’s first-ever head golf coach. Eberly, also an alumnus and former women’s basketball coach, will head both the men’s and women’s golf teams at EMU, both of which will be a varsity sport for the first time this fall.
He recently retired from a position with Rockingham County, spending more than 30 years with the county’s recreation department, including the last 28 as director. Eberly coached the boy’s golf team at Eastern Mennonite High School this past year and also works at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg, which will be the home course for the Royals.
Further building on the connection with the city-owned course, David Johns, the head professional at Heritage Oaks, will provide additional instruction for the EMU golfers.
Eastern Mennonite University Director of Athletics Dave King feels the combination of the two men will be perfect for the start up of the program.
“Wendell brings a familiarity with the university, the Harrisonburg community and Heritage Oaks that will help him fit into the collegiate coaching role and get the golf program up and running,” King explained. “David's familiarity of golf programs, including his collegiate playing days at James Madison University, will help in establishing the golf program. The combination of Wendell's administrative experience and David's teaching expertise and experience provides the foundation for a great start to our golf teams. That combination will also be an attraction to recruits who want to improve their game. The availability of both Wendell and David at the golf course will greatly benefit the players during their practice sessions.”
Eberly was pleased to see EMU add the sport on the varsity level.
“The more I started talking about this opportunity the more exited I got,” he said. “I love golf and it’s a great program for EMU to get involved with as it provides a lifetime activity for the student-athletes.”
Immediately after graduating from Eastern Mennonite in 1975, Eberly coached the women’s basketball team to three winning seasons on an interim basis preceding Hall of Honor coach Sandy Brownscombe. He now brings his involvement with his alma mater full circle.
“I’ve been involved with EMU for many years,” said Eberly. “I graduated from here, my wife graduated from here and we’ve had two daughters graduate from here. So I’ve been involved with the community for many years and stayed up on their sports activities. It’s a good institution and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
The collegiate golf season spans all year, with events in both the fall and spring leading up to the ODAC Championship in April. King knows that with the timing of the hiring, the majority of EMU’s first team members might already be on campus.
“While we are really late in the recruiting process, we are hopeful that as Wendell gets started, we can still find a few student-athletes that would like to be a part of this new program,” King said. “We have a lot to learn about the golf program, but having Wendell and David working together, I believe that we can make up for lost time. We are grateful to the Loyal Royals who have provided funding so Wendell can begin working immediately.”
Eberly and his wife Carol live in Harrisonburg. They have two grown daughters that live in the area along with two grandchildren.