The Marshall graduate has been coaching Marshall’s golf team for 40 years, and after this weekend’s Conference USA Tournament in Texarkana, Ark., Feaganes’ tenure at Marshall will come to an end.
“If you’d asked me 40 years ago how long I was going to be the golf coach here I wouldn’t have guessed this long,” Feaganes said.
Feaganes has been at Marshall since he enrolled at the school in 1962. He played golf for the Herd and went on to be a graduate from the university.
Coming out of school, Feaganes’ original plan was not to become a golf coach, but instead, to become a football coach. Feaganes’ original plan did not pan out.
Instead of becoming a football coach, Feaganes began a short, four-year teaching career before becoming the golf coach at Marshall.
“This is my alma mater.” Feaganes said. “I played golf here in the early and mid 60s. I thought I was going to be a football coach. That’s what I really wanted to do. That didn’t work out so I taught school for four and a half years right after I finished (at Marshall) and then the golf job opened up and I was asked by the athletic director at that time if I’d be interested in the golf job.”
Although coaching golf was not the original dream for Feaganes, he said looking back — he wouldn’t want it any other way.
When Feaganes was first hired as Marshall’s men’s golf coach, he faced an interesting situation as a coach. He wasn’t a full-time employee.
In fact, his first five years as head coach, Feaganes worked another job on the side.
“For the first five years I was the head coach, but I was a part-time employee of the university,” Feaganes said. “My dad owned a commercial glass business here in town so I worked for him.”
By the time 1977 rolled around, Feaganes had earned a full-time role as Marshall’s head coach of the men’s golf team. Not only did he get the full-time job, but Feaganes also took over duties of head fund raiser for Marshall athletics.
“I was asked if I was interested in being the Big Green director so I got out of the glass business and came on full-time as the Big Green director and the full-time golf coach,” Feaganes said.
Feaganes admittedly is the kind of person that does not like idle time, and that shows in his resume.
For his first 25 years as the men’s golf coach, Feaganes also held numerous other roles within Marshall’s athletic program.
“At some points in time I was the assistant athletic director and the associate athletic director, but I maintained the golf job all the years,” Feaganes said. “For the last 15 years or so it’s been just golf.”
Joe Feaganes has spent 40 years as Marshall’s men’s golf coach, but he has been involved with the green and white for much longer. Going back to when he enrolled as a student, Feaganes has spent the better part of 50 years associated with Marshall, which is something that makes retiring with the Herd even more special.
“I spent most of my adult life associated with Marshall and Marshall golf,” Feaganes said. “It’s been pretty special, especially with all the players and different personalities and teams that I’ve crossed paths with. It’s just been a pretty good run.” In 40 years of coaching, the list of players come through the program gets to be quite extensive. Despite the number of players Feaganes coaches, he said he still remembers them all and keep in touch with them the best he can.
“I try to stay in touch with former players,” Feaganes said. “We have a fundraiser every year called Herd Golf Day and a lot of ex-players come back, but to me they’re not ‘ex-players,’ they’re still Marshall golfers. It’s still their program just as much as it’s mine.”
Marshall’s Herd Golf Day is just one occasion for Feaganes to keep up with former players. Many have enjoyed amateur golf careers and many are still in the area and involved with Marshall.
“We try to follow them even after they’ve graduated and hopefully they do well not only in golf, but in whatever profession they chose to go into as well,” Feaganes said.
The Marshall golf team is coming off a ninth place finish at Ohio State last weekend and will be playing in the Conference USA Tournament Sunday through Tuesday.