Don Cole, head coach of Keystone College’s men’s golf team for the past 13 seasons and a member of the Giants’ Athletics Hall of Fame, has announced his retirement following an outstanding tenure at the helm of the program.
Under Cole’s guidance, the Giants won five conference championships, made two appearances in the NCAA Division III Championships and claimed the 2004 USCAA National Championship.
Cole, who was selected to Keystone College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, helped the Giants’ men’s golf team make the transition from the junior college ranks to the NCAA Division III level while leading the program to success at both the conference and national levels.
Keystone’s golf team won the college’s first-ever national championship in 2004 after finishing first at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships, a year after finishing as the National Junior College Athletic Association National Runner-Up. Cole earned NEAC Coach of the Year honors four-straight years from 2005 to 2008 after garnering PCAA Coach of the Year accolades in 2001 and 2002.
He was also selected as the USCAA National Coach of the Year in 2004 after leading Keystone to their national championship, which came in the Giants’ first season competing against other four-year institutions.
In December 2010, Cole was selected as one of the Top 100 golf teachers in the world by the World Golf Teachers Federation; marking the second time that he was honored by his peers after having been named as one of the Top 60 golf coaches in the United States as recognized by the USGTF.
After winning the Moravian College Spring Invitational on March 28, 2013, Cole guided the Giants to four third-place finishes in his final season this past spring.
Coach Cole took over the reign at Keystone after serving as the varsity golf coach at Abington Heights School District for 20 years, during which time he became one of the most successful coaches all-time in the Lackawanna Golf League with a record of 266 wins, 46 losses, and 8 ties.
The Tunkhannock resident is the only golf coach in the history of the Lackawanna Golf League to win seven PIAA District II Team Championships over three decades: 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1993, and 1994. He is also the only coach in the history of the Lackawanna Golf League to win three back-to-back PIAA District II Team Championships: 1980 and 1981, 1984 and 1985, and 1993 and 1994.
Cole also coached the Comets to 14 Northern Division Championships. During this time, he coached the team to 11 undefeated seasons. Additionally at Abington, Cole coached eight individual district champions. He also coached the only player (male or female) in the history of the Lackawanna Golf League to win four consecutive PIAA District II Individual Championships. In addition, he had 28 players qualify for the PIAA State Championships.