Success in a different role

Former Ferris standout golfer thrives as head coach

With great coaching comes great success – and with Kyle Wittenbach at the helm of Ferris’ men’s and women’s golf teams, it shows.

The Lowell native is a 2012 Ferris alum with a bachelor’s degree from the professional golf management program. He is also a former player of the Ferris men’s golf team and still plays in tournaments around Michigan today.

“He is more than qualified for this position,” Ferris freshman golfer Elaina DeRose said. “Coach Wittenbach is a dedicated coach that does a phenomenal job of balancing his family and the golf program. He is a hard worker that cares deeply for his athletes.”

Wittenbach took over as head coach after Mike Mignano left the position. Wittenbach has a vast background in his coaching career, as he was the head coach at Northern Michigan University and an assistant coach at Ferris before becoming the head coach in 2016.

“He was also a member of the Ferris State men’s golf team, which has given him the experience needed to know the demands of a student-athlete,” DeRose said. “Coach Wittenbach not only wants to see us grow as golfers, but more importantly as young adults. He helps prepare us for our life after college. He instills a culture that allows us to grow, develop and learn.”

Wittenbach said he got into golfing because it was another activity to do when he was young. He also played baseball, basketball, tennis and soccer while growing up. Wittenbach said he has a lot to still do in his career.

Wittenbach understands what it’s like to be a student-athlete and what it takes to juggle school and sports. One of his biggest goals as a coach includes maintaining the relationships he has with his players and help them grow as people.

“To grow and develop my players into mature, responsible and wise adults through teaching them the game of golf,” Wittenbach said. “These things will make them champions of the golf course and champions in life.”

Wittenbach is also a member of the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and has completed PGA internships as a golf assistant. He taught a variety of students of all ages, along with managed and operated different duties at respective clubs across the U.S. This abundant amount of knowledge of the golf game helps his players, according to Ferris senior golfer Seth Terpstra.

“Coach’s competitive background helps immensely with his coaching along with being a PGA member,” Terpstra said. “He has competed at the collegiate level and had success, so he knows what we are going through and knows how to help achieve our goals at this level. He knows the fundamentals of the golf swing and how a player achieves peak performance.”

Wittenbach resides in Big Rapids with his wife, Heather, and his two daughters, Darbi and Jojo. Juggling a golfing career, being a collegiate coach and having a family isn’t easy, but that hasn’t stopped Wittenbach by any means.