Pete's Ponderings-May 11
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  05/11/2009

Pete titles this essay, “Legend and Legacy” and I am referring to the New Mexico State men’s golf program. The Legend is of course, Dr. Herb Wimberly. He received his honorary Ph.D. during the spring commencement, May 9. He was the men’s golf coach, before there was an NM State golf course. He started the program that has had the most consistent success in winning championships of any at the school.


From 1962-93, Wimberly piloted the Aggies into NCAA tournaments and turned out three PGA regulars in the process. His first Aggie team had Rich Beem as a member. Since then the golfers have grown the program and grown the course to the beautiful facility we know now. The Legacy, current coach Scott Lieberwirth showed he can do it as a player and as a coach. In 1999, he was the Big West Men’s golf most valuable player leading the Aggies to the conference title. He also was a first team all-academic selection three years in a row.


His current team is the 2009 WAC Champions, having taken the crown three of the last four years. Lieberwirth coached his first team, the 2004 Aggies to the Sun Belt title after they finished ninth the year before. This weekend, he has his team in Austin, Texas, for the NCAA Regionals. Lieberwirth didn’t follow in Wimberly’s shoes directly, but he is matching the Legend step for step in developing quality golfers and quality young men.


Their paths to NM State took slightly different routes. Wimberly got his degree at New Mexico, but quickly saw the error of his ways and moved straight to Las Cruces after graduating. Lieberwirth is an NM State alum, he grew up in Carlsbad. Both have earned coach of the year honors, Wimberly has been voted to the hall of fame in three separate venues, and Lieberwirth is a might young for that but give him time, you know that recognition is just waiting in the wings.


The overall strength of the program is recruiting, of course. Great weather and a chance to play golf almost every day, is sure to get to the spirit of a man who loves the game. The existence of the Pro Golf Management program doesn’t hurt either. NM State was on the cutting edge of the program nationally and now serves as a model for those schools that have added the course of study. Having a top-notch course to play on is another strong recruiting tool.


Both Legend and Legacy point to the work of Superintendent Bruce Erhard and his staff. Erhard has achieved some acclaim himself, with a scholarship with his name on it in the College of Agriculture. Lieberwirth would shake his head in modesty if you compared what he has accomplished to Wimberly’s achievements, but wait and see, the Legacy is on track to be there someday.

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