Big Rapids, Mich. - Seventh-year Ferris State University men's and women's golf head coach Mike Mignano will have an opportunity to represent the state next June as he has been selected to lead a Team Michigan contingent of Special Olympics athletes at the 2014 Special Olympics North Ameria National Games.
Mignano, who has led the Bulldog men's and women's programs to NCAA Division II postseason appearances in each of his six previous seasons at the helm, will serve as the head golf coach at the June 21-24 national games thru his involvement as a volunteer in the Special Olympics of Michigan program.
"Due to Mike's previous experience working with our athletes, the selection committee felt that he would be a tremendous asset to Team Michigan at the national games," said Heather Burke, the head of delegation for Team Michigan.
As part of his duties as the Team Michigan head coach, Mignano will interact with his team members throughout the year and coordinate a training plan with their local coaches. His involvement is expected to make the transition easier for the athletes and their families.
The team will go thru a training program on the campus of Central Michigan University later this year and eventually reach New Jersey in June with the opening ceremonies set for June 15, 2014.
Special Olympics of Michigan offers 24 Olympic-style individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities. Through Special Olympics Michigan, athletes gain self-esteem, discipline, and courage, which carry over to all other aspects of their lives, including school, home, and the workplace. More than one million athletes from over 170 countries annually compete in the Special Olympics program.
Mignano has continued the Bulldogs' run of golf success since taking over the Bulldog program in 2008. During the 2012-13 campaign, Mignano directed the Bulldogs to the school's 12th consecutive NCAA appearance in women's golf along with the 11th national berth in a row on the men's side. FSU has also ranked among the country's top teams academically during his tenure. He was appointed as the school's head coach for both programs prior to the 2008-09 season after originally serving as the interim head coach the previous spring.
A FSU Professional Golf Management (PGM) program alum, Mignano earned GLIAC Coach of the Year accolades in 2011 and was the 2010 Division II Eaton Golf Pride Midwest Regional Coach of the Year. He was also featured in the Michigan Student Golfer Magazine's College Coach's Spotlight in 2009. Among his highlights at Ferris State was directing the Bulldogs to a national fourth-place performance at the 2008 NCAA-II Women's Golf Championships in Houston, Texas.
Prior to his stint as head coach, Mignano worked as an assistant coach under former head coach Brad Bedortha while also serving as an assistant golf professional and a PGM assistant at Ferris State from June 2007 to March 2008. Mignano's duties included managing the daily operations of FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich., assisting the PGM program coordinator with daily activities and the coordination of PGM program activities, assisting the FSU Golf Camp Director, and serving as the instructor for the Mecosta County Junior Golf Program.
A 2006 graduate of Ferris State, Mignano earned a bachelor's degree in professional golf management. Following graduation, he completed two stints as an assistant golf professional/PGA intern at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif. Mignano worked from January to May 2007 and again from October 2005 to April 2006 at Torrey Pines G.C., which was the home of the PGA Tour's Buick Invitational and the 2008 U.S. Open. The Ypsilanti, Mich., native also was the assistant coach for the boy's golf team at Chelsea (Mich.) HIgh School in the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
While completing his undergraduate degree at Ferris State, Mignano made the FSU Dean's Academic list every academic semester and was the recipient of the PGM's Gary Wiren Award for having the highest cumulative grade point average in his graduating class. He also was awarded both the Robert and Jayne Ewigleben Scholarship and the John Celestino Endowment Scholarship in the fall of 2006. Mignano spent May to December 2004 as a PGA intern at the prestigious Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which was the site of the 2004 PGA Ryder Cup matches.
Mignano, a 2002 graduate of Chelsea High School, was a member of the school's varsity and junior varsity golf team from 1999-02 and served as the team captain for the 2001 season. Mignano received the team coach's award in 2001 after garnering the freshman award in 1999 and most improved player recognition in 2000.
The son of the late Joe Mignano and Sheila Rodenkirch, Mignano is the youngest of three siblings (two sisters and a brother). A member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), Mignano resides in Big Rapids.