Jacksonville Golf Announces New Role for Blackburn, Two New Head Coaches

Jacksonville Golf Announces New Role for Blackburn, Two New Head Coaches

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University Senior Vice President and Athletic Director, Alex Ricker-Gilbert announced on Monday a restructuring of the leadership atop the golf programs.

Effectively immediately, Mike Blackburn has assumed the role of Director of Golf and along with it, the Dolphins welcome a pair of new head coaches. Kathryn Dougan has been named the Head Women's Golf Coach and Jamey Salmon has been elevated to Head Men's Golf Coach.

"We're really excited about the direction we're heading with our golf programs and having Mike Blackburn, who has accomplished so much in his career, leading the charge as the Director of Golf is a huge part of that," Ricker-Gilbert said. "We're bringing in two new head coaches in Kathryn Dougan and Jamey Salmon that have bright futures and will do a great job building on the foundation that has been laid in recent years. I want to congratulate everyone involved in this process and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds."

Since coming to JU, Blackburn has revitalized the men's and women's golf programs and increased their visibility in the community by improving play on the course each season. He has helped the men's program achieve their two highest national rankings in program history during his tenure. JU was ranked as high as 41 in 2017 and was placed 68th during the 2015-16 season. The team has also played the nine lowest rounds in program history with Blackburn at the helm while advancing to the NCAA Tournament twice, including the first-ever at-large berth, with multiple individuals advancing as well.

"I would like to thank Alex Ricker-Gilbert and Jacksonville University for the opportunity to continue to lead the men's and women's golf programs as Director of Golf," Blackburn said. "I have the utmost respect and confidence in Jamey Salmon and Kathryn Dougan as Head Coaches and I look forward to mentoring both of them as well as continuing to improve the student-athlete experience."

Kathryn Dougan, a native of the Jacksonville area, a former two-time NCAA All-American and two-time All-SEC choice at the University of Alabama brings a wealth of playing experience to the helm of the women's program. She competed on the LPGA Futures Golf tour, the official development tour of the LPGA, during which she won the 2001 Lincoln Futures Golf Classic. She went on to compete in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open.

Since the completion of her professional career in 2005, Dougan has remained involved in the golf scene in Northeast Florida but spent time in the private sector as well, most recently working as an Infant and Toddler Development Specialist/Clinician/Service Coordinator at the University of Florida Department of Pediactrics/Northeastern Early Steps. She inherits a women's golf program that has achieved its best conference tournament finishes since the program was formed in 1985, four years running, and achieved the first-ever top-100 Golfstat finish in program history in 2017-18.

"I am excited and very thankful to have the opportunity to become Jacksonville University's Head Women's Golf Coach," Dougan said of the opportunity. "It's an exciting time in Jacksonville Athletics and I am excited to share my love, experience, and competitiveness for the game of golf with these student athletes. I want to thank Alex Ricker-Gilbert and the entire Athletic Department for this opportunity."

Jamey Salmon just completed his third season as Assistant Coach for the men's program but his name can be found all over the record book from his time on the roster from 2009-13. In 2012-13 he matched the program record for rounds played in a single season (34) and played 32 rounds in back-to-back seasons prior to that. His 116 total rounds played are second most in program history. His four Eagles in 2012-13 remained tied for third in program history and his career stroke average of 75.16 ranks ninth all-time. His 291 birdies are third all-time.

"I am truly honored and grateful to have this new opportunity to lead the Jacksonville University men's golf program," Salmon said. "I would like to start out by thanking several people for helping make this dream of mine become a reality for myself and my family. I would like to thank Alex Ricker-GilbertJustin Wilkins and our new Director of Golf, Mike Blackburn, for being so supportive through this process and entrusting the future of this program to me. As a Jacksonville University alum and former member of the men's golf team, it means so much to be a part of the University again."

"My experience both on and off the course at JU was one that I will always remember," Salmon continued, "and I am fortunate to be a part of the program and athletic department once again. I am thrilled to lead and take this program to the next level! Go Dolphins!"
 
Associate Athletic Director for Compliance & Administration, Justin Wilkins led both head coach searches as the administrator for both programs. "This is a special time for Jacksonville University Athletics," Wilkins added. "We are excited to have Jamey Salmonand Kathryn Dougan as our head coaches, and look forward to the leadership that Mike Blackburn will provide to these two programs as the Director of Golf. This group believes in a commitment to the student-athlete experience and share a vision for building a championship culture. The future of Jacksonville University golf is bright!"

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