Webb, a former East Tennessee State golfer, is in his second season as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, a perennial power ranked third in the country this week.
“I feel very fortunate to get here this early in my coaching career,” Webb said. “It’s great to be around good players and it’s fun to be in the mix with the big boys, win tournaments and contend for the national championship.”
Webb, who turns 40 later this year, began his coaching career at South Florida, where he spent one year before the Georgia Tech opportunity came along. Working under coach Bruce Heppler, in his 19th year at Georgia Tech, has been quite a learning experience.
“Getting to learn from coach Heppler is probably the most beneficial from a career standpoint,” Webb said. “His teams have been in the top 25 for 18 consecutive years and the top 10 and top five for many of them. I’ve been trying to learn everything. Just to see what goes on, fund-raising, recruiting, dealing with the administration, dealing with boosters. The most important thing is learning how to interact with the kids and get the best out of them, not only making them good golfers, but making them good people.”
Heppler said Webb’s contributions to the team are more than would be expected from an assistant in just his third year of college coaching.
“He came highly recommended,” Heppler said. “He’s done a great job recruiting and with the guys on the team. He’s really doing well.”
The Yellow Jackets began the year by winning the Carpet Capital Classic in the fall. They’ve won three more tournaments and will be the favorites at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament next week.
“It’s been a good year,” Webb said. “It’s a testament to the kind of players coach Heppler has recruited. I’ve been recruiting very hard so that it will continue here in the foreseeable future.”
Georgia Tech’s impressive golf history dates all the way back to Bobby Jones. More recently, Tech alum Matt Kuchar had a chance to win the Masters over the weekend, only to be derailed by a four-putt early in the final round. It didn’t make it any easier for Georgia Tech folks to watch Bubba Watson, who played at rival Georgia, slip into a green jacket for the second time.
Webb has spent some time with the seemingly always-smiling Kuchar, most notably at a college tournament in Hawaii, where they played together in an event leading up to the competition.
“He’s the exact same guy you see on TV,” Webb said. “He’s really a great guy and a great supporter of Georgia Tech.”
Webb was on three Southern Conference championship teams at ETSU before graduating in 1997.
“He was always a good player, but he really had some leadership qualities,” ETSU coach Fred Warren said. “He’ll be a very good coach. He’s got a great personality and leadership qualities and is a very smart young man. He’s got a bright future.”
After college, Webb spent several years playing professionally. He played a full year on the Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour in 2009 and made his way into a PGA Tour event, the 2010 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“I have a lot to offer from my playing career and the process I went through to get better,” he said. “Obviously, I was around a lot of good players in college and when I played professionally. I can’t beat any of them (his players) anymore, so they have to trust the fact that I could play. They’ve bought into that.”
The way Heppler tells it, Webb might be selling his own game a little short.
“He’s still a very good player,” Heppler said. “That gives him a lot of credibility with the guys. Having been a college player and playing professionally, he’s a wonderful resource for them.
“The guys are really drawn to him. When he takes them out, I think his ideas about how to do things resonate with them and they trust him.”
Christian Newton, Heppler’s experienced assistant, left to become head coach at Colorado State, so Webb had some pretty big shoes to fill when he arrived in Atlanta. And, by all accounts, he’s filled them nicely.
“I couldn’t be happier with the job he’s done,” Heppler said.
Follow us: JCPress on Twitter | JohnsonCityPress on Facebook
Follow Joe Avento: On Twitter and Facebook