Now in his third season as the Wolf Pack's head coach, Jacob Wilner guides Nevada into a new era in the Mountain West Conference.
Wilner's first team in the Mountain West is poised to compete immediately despite not having any seniors on the roster. Junior Brian Knoll is joined by junior-college transfer Ryan Mulvany as the lone upperclassmen and last year's talented freshman class now makes up a quartet of sophomores ready to elevate their games.
"We are very excited about the move to the Mountain West Conference," Wilner said. "This heightened level of competition is a motivational factor and the boys are ready for the challenge. With the addition of our new players to the roster we have a team that will compete and our goals are very high."
The 2011-12 season at Nevada - Wilner's second at the helm - was capped by another NCAA Regional appearance by a Pack player as Kevin Lucas earned an at-large selection and finished 48th at the Norman Regional.
Nevada finished sixth at the Western Athletic Conference Championships with Lucas earning first-team All-WAC honors. In addition, four Pack players earned Academic All-WAC honors in Gustavo Chuang, Andrew Cornella, Zak Griffiths and Taylor Knoll.
Nevada nearly got Wilner his first team victory as the Pack tied Oregon State at the Pacific Invitational but fell to the Beavers in the first hole of the playoff. Lucas did secure the individual victory, the first by a player under Wilner.
Wilner's first season at Nevada in 2010-12 was marked by a strong showing against a challenging schedule and culminated with a pair of golfers - Scott Smith and Kevin Lucas - earning All-Western Athletic Conference accolades. Smith earned an at-large spot into the NCAA Regionals as well, marking the third straight season Nevada was a part of postseason play. Smith twice earned WAC Golfer of the Week honors during the season.
Off the course, Wilner's team produced three members who were named Academic All-WAC for the year in Andrew Augustyniak, Chris Cho and Smith.
Prior to his promotion to head coach, Wilner spent two seasons with the Wolf Pack as an assistant coach in the Nevada golf program.
In 2009-10, the Wolf Pack finished in the top five at six different events, including a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference Championships. That also included a team championship at the Saint Mary's Invitational at Poppy Hills G.C. in Pebble Beach, Calif. During the course of the season, the Pack earned its highest ranking in the polls in nearly a decade.
Individually, Jared Becher qualified for the NCAA Regional event and placed fifth at the Southwest Regional, narrowly missing a spot in the NCAA Championships. Becher and Ryan Hallisey each won WAC Golfer of the Week honors from the WAC during the season. Becher, Taylor Coffman and Scott Smith also earned Academic All-WAC honors for the Pack. Coffman was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VIII at-large teams while Coffman and Smith were named Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
In his first season with the Wolf Pack in 2008-09, Wilner helped the men's golf team to five top five finishes, including a win at the 2009 Stevinson Ranch Invitational, while Jared Becher, Ryan Hallisey and Scott Smith all earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors. On the women's side, the Wolf Pack had three top five showings, including a second-place team finish and individual win by first-team All-WAC honoree Melanie De Leon at the Northwest Inland Cup.
When he arrived at Nevada, Wilner brought over seven years of experience as a golf instructor to the Wolf Pack, most recently spending a year as a lead instructor at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C. He also has worked at golf courses throughout southern California and Myrtle Beach S.C., including three years as an assistant golf professional at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles from 2003-06 and a stint as an assistant instructor at the Golf Digest Schools in 2003 in Myrtle Beach.
A 2001 graduate of Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure service management, Wilner was a member of the Chanticleer golf team for four years. He earned All-Big South Conference honors from 1998-2000 and was on the dean's list for two years. Wilner averaged 72.3 strokes per round in 1999 and set Coastal Carolina's 54-hole scoring record (205), while he helped the Chanticleers rank fourth in the nation in scoring average in 1999.
A native of Coral Springs, Fla., Wilner graduated from JP Taravella High School in Coral Springs.