Valley City native Jared Lentz hired as new UJ golf head coach

Jun. 8—JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown did not have to look very far for its next golf head coach. The university announced on Wednesday, June 5, that it was hiring Jared Lentz for the head coach position.

Lentz is a Valley City native and played his collegiate golf for Valley City State University.

"Growing up in Valley City, having a birds-eye view of what the University of Jamestown is, especially on the golf program, they've had many trips to nationals," Lentz said. "While I was there (at VCSU) they were always toward the top if not at the top of the conference during my fours there. So what Dustin Jensen has built there and he has continued to help while he evolved into a different role in the university was definitely something I was looking to join with once I saw the role and had some communication with some people over there."

Lentz said he spoke to UJ Athletic Director Austin Hieb and UJ President Polly Peterson and they both expressed the desire for the program to have success, which was appealing to him.

Lentz said his resume gave him a better advantage than being from Valley City.

During the interview process, Lentz said he spoke to some of his athletes on Zoom. Lentz said one of the most important things he wants to accomplish with his athletes is being comfortable enough to be honest with each other and let the other person know when something needs to be fixed.

Lentz said he found out he got the job at the beginning of the week of May 28. Lentz said he will officially start on June 17.

Lentz said he will help the Jimmies golfers with the mental side of the game.

"The difference with golf is such an individual game, everyone does their own thing, I don't think there's one human on the Earth that swings a golf club the exact same way as the next," Lentz said. "So maybe not as much focusing on that side of stuff as it is the mental side of things but also trying to piece together rounds to shoot the best scores possible instead of sitting and worrying so much about the technical side of things."

Lentz said he will be looking to help his golfers mentally move past bad shots or rounds and find a way to succeed. Lentz said he wants his golfers to be relaxed on the course.

"I think naturally as golfers ... you get up to every hole and you're worried about if you hit it left you might go in the water, if you hit it right you might go out of bounds, vice versa," Lentz said. "But, just focusing on playing shot by shot, not worrying about what the final tally will look like and trying to enjoy it because you're in college, you're playing golf, there definitely could be a lot worse things you could be doing."

Lentz is taking over for Dustin Jensen who served as the interim coach for the 2024 season. Lentz said Jensen recruited him when he was coming out of high school.

"I had some preliminary phone calls with Dustin Jensen," Lentz said. "I always give him a hard time about that, but my scores in high school weren't at a level where a school like Jamestown should probably have been trying too hard. So I do give him a little leeway with that, I definitely didn't start shooting better scores until after the fact."

Lentz is expected to oversee the Jimmies move up to the NCAA Division II level and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in the 2025-26 school year.

"It's gonna be tough, there's good players all around, there's good players, Minot's got good players, Bismarck, and they're playing these super nice courses," Lentz said. "We're fortunate enough to play the Jamestown Country Club, which I think is right up there with a lot of these courses. So it's definitely gonna be challenging but I think the group that we have plus obviously gonna be hitting recruiting trail pretty hard, we have a chance to be able to compete with them right away and we are gonna have an opportunity to play a few tournaments with some of those teams this fall and into the spring to size up, see where we're at."

Lentz said he will be recruiting people who have a love for the game and are willing to work hard. Lentz said he has not started recruiting yet but has spoken to Jensen about his work recruiting. He said he looks forward to having prospective students on campus and showing them the facilities and the new Worner Family Golf Facility.

After graduating in 2019, Lentz said he decided not to pursue a professional golf career because he did not think he would be able to climb the ladder and have a lot of success. Since he graduated, he has been working out of the sport.

"It was never really a thought, just really enjoyed my four years playing, the ability to travel around the Midwest and play different courses that I wouldn't be able to play if I wouldn't have done it," Lentz said. "But, then moved more over to summer amateur tournaments throughout the region to fulfill that competitive fix."

During his career as a Viking, Lentz won six different events including two Jamestown Invite events during his senior season. Lentz said he enjoys playing at the Jamestown Country Club because it favors golfers who don't drive the ball a long distance but allows all golfers to play well.

"The big thing for me will be getting to work directly with them to understand everyone's game and be able to work and see how other games fit with those courses," Lentz said. "I think one of the reasons I do enjoy Jamestown Country Club so much because it does fit my game pretty well, but I do know that for some people it can be opposite too. So I look forward to that challenge."

Lentz is the 10th full-time head coach in the history of the programs. Lentz said he wants the golf program to have lots of success on the course and help his golfers reach their potential.