MSSU golf coach Mike Wheeler announces retirement after 14 years

Apr. 4—Being Missouri Southern's head men's golf coach for 14 years and helping to start the women's golf program six years ago has been a blessing for Mike Wheeler but, in his words, "You've got to know when it's time to go."

"If I was 20 years younger, I'd stick around for a while longer, but it's just getting more difficult to make all these trips," Wheeler said. "It's been a good run and this program and these friendships have been a blessing in my life."

Missouri Southern Director of Athletics Rob Mallory announced on Thursday that Wheeler had made the decision to retire at the end of this season.

"I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to Mike Wheeler for his extraordinary service to Missouri Southern and our student-athletes over the past 14 years as head golf coach," said Mallory. "His contributions over that time have been significant and impactful. He was instrumental in starting the women's golf program in 2018. His teams have consistently been highly competitive on the course and have performed exceptionally well in the classroom and the community. Beyond that, Mike's personal generosity has provided our student-athletes access to outstanding training facilities and equipment, enabling them to thrive in an extremely tough competitive conference and region. As he steps away at the end of this season, he leaves us in a tremendous position to hire new leadership and continue the upward trajectory of our golf programs."

"The opportunity to take over this position came at a time in my life where I wasn't sure what I was going to do, and it turned out to be a great decision for me," Wheeler said. "And I hope that others have benefited as much as I have. Without the people that have helped me on the way, particularly coaches Derek Skaggs, Maggie Moore, Adam Vining, Phil Walker and Butch Vernon, it wouldn't have been possible."

Wheeler led the men's team to a historic 2022-23 season, winning both the MIAA regular season and the tournament championship — the first time in program history both have been won in the same season. He was named the MIAA Coach of the Year and MSSU golfer Tradgon McCrae was named the MIAA Golfer of the Year. Additionally, for the first time under Wheeler, the men's team qualified for Super Regionals.

Over his career at Missouri Southern, Wheeler has coached eight All-MIAA selections, taken one team and four different individuals to regional tournaments, and helped the teams to a total of nine tournament victories.

Following his retirement, Wheeler says "I'm going to do some fishing, spend some time with my family, do some traveling, maybe even play some golf — you never know."

There will be a national search for the next golf coach at Missouri Southern, beginning immediately.