It was an itch that had to be scratched.
For Justin Fetcho, a native of Eldorado, when he stepped down as a male golf coach at Southern Illinois University in October, he did so with the intention of leading a life that wasn’t so chaotic.
But for the 36-year-old, time away from sports was like living a Cinderella song: you don’t know what you have until he’s gone.
Earlier this month, Fetcho accepted the position of golf assistant at Florida State University, after stepping down as business development manager at Legende Bank in southern Illinois.
âI liked what I was doing,â Fetcho said in an exclusive interview with the Harrisburg Register.
âDeep down though, there was a big chunk missing in my life. Coaching was all I’ve ever known. Ever since I left college, that’s all I did. I didn’t know. not when or where an opportunity might arise, but it’s perfect for me and my family. “
Fetcho’s unique twist and new role at FSU will not only work with the men’s program, but the women’s program as well.
Fetcho, since graduating from the University of South Florida, where he is one of the most decorated players in school history, has been an assistant coach in the Oregon women’s program before to become Mike Small’s assistant at the University of Illinois. .
âIt’s a place where they enjoy golf,â Fetcho said of the Tallahassee campus. âThey support the programs and want you to be successful and will give you the resources you need to do that. One of the opportunities that stood out was working with the combined programs and this crossover is something that I’m very passionate about. . “
Last year, the Seminole men were ranked fourth and the women were ranked 10th according to Golfstat.
âIt was hard to pass up the opportunity to work with two top 10 programs. It is something that we are committing to again this year and in the future. The experience of working on both sides is intriguing and exciting.
âCoaching golf is coaching golf,â Fetcho said.
In six years at the helm of SIU, Fetcho’s programs have been exceptional as he led the Salukis to two Missouri Valley Conference championships and two finalists in five tries. SIU has finished in the top five in the conference championship in each of its five seasons. He was named MVC Coach of the Year in 2019 and coached the school’s first MVC Golf of the Year to Peyton Wilhoit and five different golfers who have won conference honors a total of 10 times.
On the other hand, Fetcho’s fundraising efforts paved the way for trips to Hawaii, California, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. Her fundraising efforts also helped with equipment and clothing.
âGetting away from the SIU was the hardest thing I’ve done,â said Fetcho. âI missed the interaction with the players. Look, they were part of my family and I don’t mean just when they were on campus, it was two years ago when I was recruiting them. I know theirs. families – to have to watch these players and tell them that I was no longer their coach was difficult.
“I missed it early on – by human nature – and nine or 10 months later I still had this burning passion for helping kids get better in golf and in life.”
Fetcho also didn’t close the door one day to become a head coach again.
“I’m happy right now. It’s a good place for me, my wife Amanda and my two boys.”
Like many things, it’s an itch that Fetcho is likely to scratch.
Spyder Dann covers college preparation and sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.