Clemson, SC-Clemson freshman Kyle Stanley was named ACC Player of the Year and Head Coach Larry Penley was named ACC Coach of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Conference on Friday. Clemson made a clean sweep of the league golf awards, as Stanley was also named ACC Freshman of the Year. It marks the first time in ACC history the same school won the ACC Player, Freshman and Coach of the year awards in the same year.
Stanley, who has led Clemson to a top 12 national ranking in both polls, is the first freshman in ACC golf history to be named ACC Player of the Year. He is also just the sixth freshman in any sport in Clemson athletic history to be named ACC Player of the Year. He joins former soccer players Clyde Browne (1972), Godwin Obueze (1975) and Nnamdi Nwokocha (1979) and Lady Tiger tennis players Susan Hill (1980) and Ingelise Driehuis (1986) with that distinction.
Stanley is the first Clemson ACC Player of the Year regardless of class since D.J. Trahan won the honor in 2002 and he is just the third selection overall. Richard Coughlan was co-player of the year in the conference in 1997. Stanley is just the second Clemson player to win ACC Freshman of the Year honors, joining Trahan, who won the honor in 2000.
Stanley is ranked ninth in the nation in the Sagarin/Golfweek individual rankings. He has a 71.38 stroke average for the year, on pace to break Trahan's Clemson freshman mark of 72.48 in 2000. If the season ended today it would be the ninth best overall stroke average in Clemson history. A model of consistency, the native of Gig Harbor, WA has finished in the top 20 in all eight of his events this year, including medallist honors at the Aloha Classic in November. He finished third at the recent ACC Tournament.
Penley has taken a very young Clemson team to a top 12 ranking in both polls entering the NCAA Regional Tournament May 17-19. The Tigers have used three freshmen in the starting lineup at times this year and the team has ranked in the top 12 all season. The season has included a second-place finish at the Carpet Capital Classic in the fall and a second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic in the spring.
This year marks the seventh ACC Coach of the Year selection for Penley. He also won the honor in 1987, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004. Penley now ranks second in Clemson history in ACC Coach of the Year Awards, trailing only the nine won by Bob Pollock for indoor track and the eight Pollock has won for outdoor track.
Stanley and Ben Martin were also named to the All-ACC team. Both are freshmen and it marks the first time in Clemson history the school has had two freshmen on the All-ACC team. In fact, Stanley and Martin are just the third and fourth freshmen in Clemson golf history to make the All-ACC team. They join Jonathan Byrd (1997) and D.J. Trahan (2000).
Martin, a native of Greenwood, SC, ranks second on the team in stroke average with a 73.15 average. He had his best performance of the year when he finished third with a 208 score at the Carpet Classic in the first tournament of the year. He had a career best round of 64 in the second round of that tournament, tied for the second best round in Clemson history. He finished 18th at Las Vegas and 12th at the Augusta State Collegiate in the spring. He missed the ACC Tournament with an illness, but is expected to be back in the lineup for the NCAA Tournament.
This year marks the 12th consecutive year Clemson has had at least two first-team All-ACC selections.