Jack O’Keefe came to Augusta in 2013 and returned the Jaguars to the national rankings in his first three years. O’Keefe enters his fifth season with the Jaguars for the 2017-18 season. He was named head men’s golf coach at Augusta University on Dec. 2, 2013 during a press conference at the J. Fleming Norvell Golf House.
Augusta University Director of Athletics Clint Bryant introduced O’Keefe to a throng of campus and community supporters at the Jaguar Golf facility. With his appointment, O’Keefe became the sixth full-time head coach in the program’s storied history.
“Jack brings to the table exactly what we need at this time within our men’s golf program,” said Bryant. “His ability to lead, to teach, to mentor and to set a positive example of expectations for our young men is just what the doctor ordered. We look forward to his tenure as our head coach and to our return as one of the elite intercollegiate golf programs in the nation.”
On Sept. 13, 2016 O'Keefe was promoted to the Director of Golf and the head coach for men's golf.
O’Keefe was inducted into the 2016 Arkansas Golf of Fame, the Arkansas State Golf Association (ASGA) announced on Feb. 1, 2016.
In his third season with the Jags in 2015-16, Augusta earned a No. 29 national ranking. The team finished top 10 in all 13 events on the season and missed a trip to the NCAA Championship by two strokes. The team won the NC State Wolfpack and the MEAC Championship to earn their 20th bid to the NCAA Regional.
In his first season at the helm of the Jaguars, O’Keefe led senior Alex Wennstam to the NCAA Eugene Regional at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore., May 15-17. For the regular season, the Jaguars had five top finishes under O’Keefe – highlighted by a first-place finish at the 2014 Forest Hills Collegiate on March 1st at Forest Hills Golf Club.
In his sophomore season as the head man of the Jags, O’Keefe returned to the NCAA Regional postseason with a starting five as the eighth seed in the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional from May 14-16 at the UNC Finley Golf Course. Augusta finished in the top 10 in all 10 regular season meets and reached a No. 48 national ranking. The team placed in the top five in six different events, highlighted by a first-place finish at the 2015 MEAC Championship on April 25 to give the Jags an automatic qualifying bid.
The former associate head coach for men’s golf at the University of Mississippi for the last three and a half seasons, O’Keefe has played, coached and worked at the highest levels in several facets of the game. As the Rebels’ assistant coach, O’Keefe helped guide Ole Miss to its fifth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance in 2011 and a No. 46 national ranking.
In his first season at Ole Miss, O’Keefe worked directly with All-American, All-SEC and All-Region performer Jonathan Randolph and helped lead the Rebels to a 10th-place showing at the NCAA East Regional in Blacksburg, Va. He assisted head coach Ernest Ross in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, the scheduling of practices and academic support along with specializing in course management, short game fundamentals, swing analysis and player development. O'Keefe came to Ole Miss after breaking into the collegiate coaching ranks at the University of Central Arkansas. During his four-year tenure as an assistant at UCA, O'Keefe helped the Bears climb from No. 139 in the national rankings all the way to 63rd in the final Golfweek magazine poll in 2010.
O'Keefe guided UCA to a runnerup finish in the Southland Conference Championship in 2010 and placed all five players on the All-Southland Conference team (the only school to have five players make all-conference). From 2006-2009, O'Keefe helped lead the Bears to seven team victories (four in the 2009-10 season) and six individual victories.
"What an incredible opportunity this is to be the head coach at Augusta," O'Keefe said. "It is both honoring and humbling to be a part of such a tradition-rich program. I have already begun securing our fall schedule for 2014 as well as planning one-on-one meetings with each player. I want to know them on and off the golf course. I am committed to encouraging and getting the most out of every player. The support of Coach Bryant, the search committee, the university, and our community will allow us to compete against the best teams in the country. Now begins the countdown … 82 days until we tee it up at our first spring tournament."
Prior to coaching at Central Arkansas, O'Keefe was the head golf professional at Hot Springs (Ark.) Country Club. While at HSCC, O'Keefe directed over 200 tournaments and taught over 400 lessons. He also directed the junior golf camps each year with over 60 juniors participating each summer.
Following a highly-decorated collegiate career, O'Keefe joined the professional ranks in June, 1993 and played all around the world for nearly 10 years. Among his proudest accomplishments as a professional include earning his PGA Tour card in 1997 (he finished 175th on the PGA Tour Official Money List) and competing in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club (72-71-76-76), where he was paired in the third round with world No. 1 Tom Lehman.
O'Keefe enjoyed a terrific season on the Nike Tour in 1996, ranking 15th on the money list with a pair of runnerup finishes. He earned 1995 Player of the Year honors on the Hooters Tour after a pair of victories. He was named 1995 International Rookie of the Year in Ube, Japan, and was the 1994 Australasian Tour Rookie of the Year after a 19th-place finish on the Australasian Tour's official money list. A three-time winner on the Hooters Tour, O'Keefe earned the Hooters Tour's Golf Achievement Award in 2001.
As a collegian at the University of Arkansas, O'Keefe was a four-time All-American, a two-time All-SEC selection and an All-Southwest Conference performer from 1989-93. He registered three individual victories as his Razorback squads captured 10 team tournament titles over his last two seasons.
A 2010 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Education, O'Keefe is married to the former Susan Fruits of Russellville, Ky. They are the parents of four children -- Lucy, John-Freeman, Henry and Hogan.
The Jack O'Keefe File
John Freeman O'Keefe, Jr.
Sept. 28, 1969 (born in Waterbury, Conn.)
Little Rock, Ark.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., 1989-93; B.S. in Education (Industrial & Technology), University of Arkansas, 2010
Head Coach , Augusta University, December, 2014, to present
Associate Head Men's Golf Coach, University of Mississippi, August, 2010 to November, 2013
Assistant Men's Golf Coach, University of Central Arkansas, August, 2006 to August, 2010
Head Golf Professional, Hot Springs (Ark.) Country Club, January, 2003 to August, 2006
Professional Golfer, June, 1993 to December, 2002
Professional Playing Experience
Hooters Tour member, 1998-2002
PGA Tour member, 1997 (finished 175th on official money list)
Nike Tour member, 1996 (finished 15th on official money list)
Competed in 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club (72-71-76-76)
PGA Australasian Tour member, 1994-98
Hooters Tour member, 1994-95
Hooters Tour Golf Achievement Award winner, 2001
Winner, Hooters Tour, Bay St. Louis, Miss., 2000
Finished in 13th place, PGA Tour's Deposit Guarantee Classic, 1997
Finished in 16th place, PGA Tour's FedEx Classic, 1997
Runnerup, NIKE Tour, Monterey, Mexico, 1996 and in Huntsville, Ala., 1996
Hooters Tour Player of the Year (led Hooters Tour official money list), 1995
Winner, Hooters Tour, Douglas, Ga., 1995 and in Rantoul, Ill., 1995
Australasian Tour Rookie of the Year (finished 19th on Australasian Tour official money list), 1994
Collegiate Playing Experience
Four-year letterwinner at University of Arkansas, 1989-93
Four-time NCAA All-American
Two-time All-SEC selection
All-Southwest Conference selection
Medalist in three collegiate events
Amateur Playing Experience
3-time Arkansas State Golf Association Player of the Year, 1990, 1991 and 1992
3-time U.S. Amateur participant in 1989 (Merion Golf Club), in 1991 (The Honors Course) and in 1992 (Muirfield Village Golf Club)
U.S. Amateur Public Links semifinalist, 1992
U.S. Amateur Public Links participant, 1991
U.S. Amateur Public Links quarterfinalist, 1990
Wife: the former Susan Fruits of Russellville, Ky.
Children: Lucy, John-Freeman, Henry and Hogan
JP van der Walt joined the Jaguars in Augusta 2016 and is in his second season as the top assistant coach for both Division I men’s and women’s golf programs at Augusta University.
From Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, van der Walt comes from a golf family with ties to the PGA Tour and has experience coaching in the NCAA. He aide’s men’s head golf coach Jack O’Keefe and women’s head golf coach Caroline Hegg with all aspects of their respective programs.
Van der Walt helped guide both the men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in 2016-17, while each squad earned a top 50 national ranking.
He joined the Jaguars after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the Columbus State University men's golf program in Columbus, Ga. He returned to CSU as a coach after finishing up his playing career as a CSU Cougar in 2009. van der Walt is fresh off a 2015-16 Peach Belt Conference Championship where he helped coach the Cougars to the title. That same season, CSU received the PBC Sportsmanship Award.
During his time in Columbus van der Walt took home the individual title at the Rollins Invitational in 2008 and was a member of the 2009 CSU team that finished in third place at the National Championship. He was also selected to the All-Peach Belt Conference team in 2008.
Van der Walt graduated from Columbus State in May of 2016 with his master's of science in organizational leadership. In May of 2009, he received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from CSU.
From South Africa, van der Walt turned pro and competed from 2009-2013 and was a member of the Sunshine Tour from 2011-2013. He was also a caddy for the European Tour and LPGA Tour and his brother Tjaart van der Walt had full time status on the PGA Tour and currently competes on the European Tour.