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Golf: Fetcho finds new home at Florida State University

  • Eldorado native and former SIU head men's golf coach Justin Fetcho was recently named as an assistant golf coach at Florida State. Fetcho will work with both the men's and women's golf teams.

    Eldorado native and former SIU head men's golf coach Justin Fetcho was recently named as an assistant golf coach at Florida State. Fetcho will work with both the men's and women's golf teams.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 9/28/2021 5:00 PM

It's an itch that needed to be scratched.
For Eldorado native Justin Fetcho, when he stepped down as Southern Illinois University men's golf coach back in October, he did so with intentions of living out a life that wasn't quite as chaotic.
But for the 36-year-old, the time away from the sport, was like living out a Cinderella song: You don't know what you got until it's gone.
Earlier this month, Fetcho accepted the assistant golf position at Florida State University, this after leaving his job as Business Development Officer at Legence Bank in southern Illinois.
"I liked what I was doing," Fetcho said in an exclusive interview with the Harrisburg Register.
"Deep down though, there was a big piece missing in my life. Coaching was all I've ever known. Since I left college, it's all I have ever done. I didn't know when or where an opportunity might become available, but this is a great fit for me and my family."
The unique twist for Fetcho and his new role at FSU will not only be working with the men's program, but the women's as well.
Fetcho, since graduating at the University of South Florida, where he is one of the most decorated players in school history, has served as an assistant coach for the Oregon women's program before moving on to be an assistant for Mike Small at the University of Illinois.
"This is a place where they value golf," Fetcho said of the Tallahassee campus. "They are supportive of the programs and want you to be successful and will give you the resources you need to do so. One of the opportunities that stood out was working with the combined programs and that cross over is something I am very excited about."
Last year, the Seminole men were ranked fourth and the women were ranked 10th according to Golfstat.
"Having the opportunity to work with two top 10 programs was hard to pass up. It's something we are committed to again this year and in the future. The experience to work on both sides is intriguing and exciting.
"Coaching golf is coaching golf, Fetcho said. "The more chance I have to learn from them and them learn from me is icing on the cake."
In six years at the helm of SIU, Fetcho's programs were stellar as he led the Salukis to two Missouri Valley Conference championships and two runner-up finishes in five tries. SIU finished in the top five of the conference championship in each of his five seasons. He was named MVC Coach Of The Year in 2019 and coached the school's first MVC Golf Of the Year in Peyton Wilhoit and five different golfers who earned All-Conference honors a total of 10 times.
On the other side, Fetcho's fundraising efforts paved the way for trips to Hawaii, California, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. His fundraising efforts also helped with equipment and apparel.
"Walking away from SIU was the toughest thing I did," Fetcho said. "I missed the interaction with the players. Listen, they were part of my family and I don't just mean when they were on campus, this is two years prior when I was recruiting them. I know their families -- to have to look at those players and tell them I was no longer their coach was difficult.
"I missed it early -- by human nature -- and nine or 10 months later I still had that burning passion to help young people become better in golf and in life."
Fetcho also hasn't closed the door on one day becoming a head coach again.
"I'm happy right now. This is a good place for me, my wife Amanda and my two boys."
Like many things, it's a itch Fetcho will probably scratch.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.