“We couldn’t be more confident that Kirk is the right choice to take over the reins of our men’s golf program,” Cole said. “Throughout his career as a collegiate coach, Kirk has consistently demonstrated the ability to produce a championship-level product while promoting the values of NCAA Division I athletics.”
Kayden led the Govs to a pair of Ohio Valley Conference Championships, coached 23 All-Conference student-athletes and two OVC Players of the Year over a 10-year tenure at Austin Peay. In addition to the team’s NCAA Regional appearances in 2009 and 2013, Kayden also coached a trio of Govs to NCAA Regional appearances as individuals.
“I’m really excited to get started at Mercer, as Sybil Blalock and Jim Cole have given me a tremendous opportunity,” Kayden said. “They provided me with a wonderful experience during my visit to Macon and you can sense a lot of good things going on in the athletic department.”
Kayden takes over a Mercer team set to return nine student-athletes from the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship squad that finished the year ranked No. 32 in Golfweek’s team collegiate rankings. Among Mercer’s returners is 2014 A-Sun Player of the Year, Trey Rule.
“The program is certainly going in right direction after last year’s A-Sun championship season,” Kayden said. “There’s plenty of talent, the strength of schedule is really good, and relationships with clubs in middle Georgia shows how the community supports golf. All of those factors make this a great opportunity for me and my family to move to a new area.”
Prior to his post at Austin Peay, Kayden spent four seasons and an assistant at Penn State where he helped lead the Nittany Lions to three consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances. The Fremont, Ohio native played his collegiate golf at Toldeo, where he was a three-year letterwinner before graduating with bachelor’s degree in sport management in 1997.