TUCSON, Ariz.—Texas A&M men’s golf assistant Jim Anderson has been named the new head coach at the University of Arizona, the school announced Thursday.
Anderson will succeed hall of fame coach Rick LaRose, who retired this May after 34 seasons as head of the U of A program.
“I’m so excited for him,” A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “I think he’s the best assistant coach in the country. He’s going to make a great head coach. Obviously, other people think so too, when they hire you to take over a program that’s won a national championship, and tons of conference championships and regional championships. It’s a big-time job. I’m thrilled for him. I think he’s going to do a great job there.”
In his three seasons in Aggieland, Anderson was instrumental in the program's continued rise to one of the elite in the collegiate game. A&M claimed the first Big 12 Championship in school history this past April with a three-stroke victory at Whispering Pines.
Anderson becomes the second straight Aggie assistant to take over a major program, following Jonathan Dismuke’s hire to take over at the University of Houston in the summer of 2009.
“I think it says a lot about what we’ve built here at Texas A&M that other major programs want to hire people that will build a program in the way we have,” Higgins said. “That’s what Houston wanted, and now what Arizona wanted, and that’s nice. It means we’re doing things the right way.”
Over Anderson’s tenure the Aggies finished in the top 15 nationally every season and saw seven players earn All-America accolades. Included in that is Cameron Peck, who this week became the program’s first three-time All-American in nearly 30 years. The program also has received 14 all-region honorees since he stepped on campus, and tied a school record with five this spring.
His hard work won him the 2012 Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, as selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America, as the nation’s top collegiate assistant.
Anderson served as director of the Aggie Golf Association - the Texas A&M men's golf booster club - and is director of the Aggie Golf School. Anderson also served annually as the tournament director of the Aggie Invitational and was tournament director for the 2010 NCAA Regional Championship at Traditions Golf Club.
A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Anderson was a four-year letter-winner at New Mexico from 2001-04. He was recruited by current Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins and played for him for two seasons before Higgins took over A&M's program in 2001. Anderson played in 38 rounds in his career, posting a 75.45 average. His best outing was a tie for second at the 2001 Border Olympics, where he carded a 5-under total of 211.
Anderson is married to the former Nita Gonzales. The couple are the proud parents of a six-month old daughter, Jolee.