Glen Millican’s history with the University of New Mexico encompasses his entire adult life. Until he landed in Columbia, Missouri, this fall, he had only ever known golf with the Lobos.
Millican played college golf for New Mexico in the late 1990s and at 23, joined then-head coach J.T. Higgins’ staff as an assistant coach. At 26, he took the head coaching role.
Millican was named head men’s golf coach at Missouri roughly a month before the start of the 2023-24 season, replacing Mark Hankins – who was set to replace longtime head coach Mark Leroux – when Hankins took the head men’s golf job at USC.
It’s hard for Millican to put into words exactly what led him to Missouri.
“I don’t have a specific reason why you would leave somewhere that you’ve been forever,” he said. “I had a great 30 years at New Mexico as a player and coach and it’s my alma mater so that place and that golf program is always going to mean a lot to me.”
Millican only beat his Missouri players to campus this fall by a couple of weeks. The Tigers roster includes four returners and five new players, including freshman Adam Miller, whom Millican and assistant coach Sean Carlon (formerly Millican’s assistant at New Mexico) had recruited at length, as well as Lobo transfer Virgilio Paz.
Mizzu set to host at Dalhousie Golf Club
This weekend, as Millican leads a team that’s not the Lobos into a tournament for the first time in his career, you might say the slate is clean at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. Missouri is the host team for the 2023 Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff, a new event on the schedule that replaces the Tigers’ usual start at Turning Stone Tiger Collegiate in Verona, New York.
“We’ll go down to Dalhousie and play some golf and that will show us a lot more than we can find out this week,” Millican said of getting to know his new team, top to bottom. “And then we’ll be off to the races.”
Millican pays a lot of attention to history, and in that respect, there are similarities between New Mexico and Missouri that he can’t ignore. At New Mexico, Millican was very aware of the success of coaching legends that came before him, from Dick Maguire, Duane Knight and John Fields to his predecessor Higgins. At Missouri, he follows men like Richard Poe, Leroux and Hankins.
Univesity of New Mexico’s head coach Glen Millican, left, with his James Erkenbeck at the Isleworth Collegiate.
“Same type of situation where you’re coming in behind guys you have a lot of respect for, guys that have done a really nice job with the program and then had a lot of success, run it the right way, have built it, have made things better in their time here,” Millican said of Missouri.
New Mexico won eight Mountain West Conference titles under Millican and advanced to NCAA Regionals 20 times in his tenure. The Lobos finished in the top 25 at the 2023 NCAA Championship. In fact, Millican left such an impression that after he announced he’d taken the job at Missouri, his alma mater issued a press release simply thanking him. Just like at New Mexico, Millican said his goal at Missouri will be to find ways to make the program better.
“I felt like there’s a ton of opportunity here,” Millican said. “Obviously they’ve already shown that they’ve had really, really good years and had great players, All-Americans, future tour players come through here and we want to continue that and get more of those guys and continue to have great finishes and find ways to keep getting better in a really competitive game.”
As Millican notes, when you haven’t competed on a course before – as will be the case at Dalhousie – sometimes it’s not immediately apparent where the course will show its teeth. Bill Morrow, the General Manager of Golf Operations at Dalhousie, went right to the rough.
“We normally don’t have the rough up,” he said. “The golf course, it’s a world-class golf course. . . . It’s very scenic, tree-lined but great par 3s.”
Dalhousie, a Gary Nicklaus design that opened in 2002, appears among Golfweek’s Best Private Courses in Missouri and the Golfweek’s Best list of residential courses in the U.S. The course has hosted championships at every level, from the Missouri Amateur to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship to Gateway PGA-sanctioned events to the AJGA’s prestigious Rolex Tournament of Champions.
The closing three holes are particularly intriguing for a college event. No. 16 is a challenging, downhill par 4 with a fairway bunker on the left and a well-bunkered green while the uphill 17th is the longest par 4 on the golf course. The 18th hole features a green that stretches 105 yards from front to back.
“It’s a great closing par 5 and it’s just an amazing green complex from front to back,” Morrow said.
Summer rains have left the course in what Morrow calls spectacular shape. A new venue and new event will give Millican a good tell on where his team is to start the season.
“When you go somewhere you’ve never played, it gives you the opportunity to see how well you can really prepare and see how well you can handle things that may have come up that you didn’t expect,” he said. “You don’t really know until you know.”