Blackburn Returns to Lead JU Men's Golf

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University Athletics announced a leadership change for the men's golf program.

Jamey Salmon, the coach for the last four years, is stepping aside to pursue other opportunities, while a familiar face in Mike Blackburn returns to the role of head coach for the program for the second time."We are very pleased to welcome Mike Blackburn back into role of head men's golf coach, a position he excelled in for many years," said Senior Vice President/Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert. "He has been an asset behind the scenes for both programs the last four years as the Director of Golf, and now he gets a chance to push the men's program back to the championship level he saw it reach in his first time as the head coach."Blackburn previously served as the program's leader from 2008-19, when he changed roles, allowing for his former player and assistant Salmon to take over, while he moved into an oversight and fundraising position as the Director of Golf."I've enjoyed the last four years as Director of Golf, engaging with our boosters and expanding our base to help support JU golf at a higher level," said Blackburn. "I am honored to step back into the position of Head Coach."There is nothing more rewarding for me as a golfer, a teacher and a coach than helping young men reach for their dreams with a golf club in their hands."Under Blackburn, the program made the NCAA Men's Golf Championship for the first time in program history in 2017. The Dolphins finished top-five at the Louisiana Regional that year to qualify for the NCAA Championship, after a third-place finish in the ASUN Championship that May. That season started with a bang, with the squad capturing the team championship at the Golfweek Program Challenge in Pawley's Island, South Carolina, with David Wicks taking home individual medalist honors and his teammate Raul Perada finishing second.The season prior, Blackburn coached Wicks to the individual title at the ASUN Championship, becoming only the third Dolphin to win the conference championship and the first in a decade. The team finished second that year and Wicks was joined by teammate Franck Medale in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. The team won the Donald Ross Intercollegiate in Morganton, North Carolina that fall, led by Wicks and Medale taking home co-medalist honors.In total, JU won five tournaments under Blackburn's tutelage, with players earning individual medalist honors six times in all in that stretch. The top-four seasons of total birdies and top-three of total eagles recorded in a year all came under Blackburn, and teams he coached also registered the best Par-3 and Par-5 scoring seasons in program history as well.Eleven players earned All-Conference distinctions during his first tenure, with five more named to the All-Freshman team. In 2017, Wicks was named the ASUN Conference's Player of the Year, just the second JU player all-time to receive the honor. That was followed by Michael Sakane winning conference freshman of the year in 2018."We have a talented group of returning student-athletes, along with two promising young freshmen coming in this fall and I look forward to being here for them," Blackburn said.

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