Coming from a big, competitive family, coaching had always intrigued Nick Pumford.

He marveled at the impact that Bo Schemblecher and John Wooden had on their players’ lives and was motivated to positively impact his own group of young players some day.

Pumford already accomplished his goal of becoming a coach last year when he was hired by Georgia State. But after Michigan men’s golf coach Chris Whitten asked Pumford join the staff in Ann Arbor and become the new assistant golf coach, Pumford will now be able to do what he loves at his alma mater.

“It’s a dream come true,” Punford said. “It’s such a special place and it really is a place close to my heart. I spent a lot of time at Michigan, and just to be able to come back and to be a part of the Michigan family, it’s just really exciting.”

Though young in age, the former Wolverine standout brings a lot of experience to the coaching staff. He helped Michigan earn back-to-back NCAA regional selections in 2008 and 2009 after an eight-year postseason absence for the program.

As a senior co-captain in 2009, he spearheaded Michigan’s run to the NCAA Championships, the team’s first appearance in 12 years. There, Pumford helped the Wolverines surprise everyone with a third-place finish.

After a successful career at Michigan, Pumford briefly played professional. Unable to continue his professional career due to the financial strain, he turned his attention to coaching. During his lone season as an assistant coach at Georgia State, he helped the Panthers to a seventh-place finish at the CAA Championships.

Though he enjoyed his time at Georgia State, accepting the position as a Wolverine was a no-brainer.

Pumford was not only excited for the opportunity to return to Michigan and work with the Wolverines as an assistant coach, but he is also thrilled to have the opportunity to do it next to Whitten, a man who helped him greatly and whose coaching he deeply respects.

“He was definitely influential on me and on the whole team,” Pumford said. “You could really see the shift of the whole mentality of the program when Chris came in to be the assistant coach. My first year, when I was a freshman, we were ranked 110th in the country and then in my senior year we finished third in the NCAA — you could definitely see the improvement.

“I was really happy for him when he got the job because I knew he was going to do a great job, and for him to give me a phone call and to tell me he wants me as his assistant, it really is a dream come true.”

He recognizes that his presence on the staff will be an advantage when recruits come to visit. He’ll be able to show them the campus and the golf program with a more personal perspective and hopes that entices golfers to play at Michigan.

Pumford will also be helped by his familiarity with his surroundings and his players. Already with an understanding of what the golf program is all about and a certain comfort level with some of the players who knew him before he got the position, he hopes that the environment will bring a relaxed, but competitive relationship between him and his players.

“They know I’m a competitive person,” Pumford said. ”I have high expectations and I want to win and hopefully they can feed off of that and continue to improve.”

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