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Rich Mueller Named Recipient of 2023 Labron Harris Sr. Award

LAS VEGAS – Rich Mueller, Head Men's Golf Coach at Columbia and a member of the Metropolitan PGA Section, has been named the 2023 Labron Harris Sr. Award recipient presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America in cooperation with the PGA of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and Class A PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching, and involvement in the community has helped ensure the game of golf's continued growth and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.

“I’m honored to receive the Labron Harris Sr. Award and join an elite group of high-achieving college coaches who are also PGA Professionals,” Mueller said. “Further, as a PGA member within the MET Section, I am humbled to represent the area where I played junior, amateur, and professional golf. Our section’s expectations of PGA Professionals are some of the highest in the country, and I aspire to exceed those standards every day.”

After five seasons as head men’s golf coach at New York University, where he led the Violets to the first two NCAA Championship appearances in school history, Mueller took the helm at Columbia in August 2005. While also serving as Director of Golf since 2007, Mueller has shaped the Columbia golf program into a perennial power in the Ivy League. The Lions have made six NCAA Division I postseason appearances and won five Ivy League Team Championships (four men, one woman) and three individual Ivy League Championships. Along with Nathan Han, the program’s first-ever PING All-American last season, Mueller has coached 33 All-Ivy League and 12 Academic All-Ivy League golfers, 15 GCAA All-America Scholars, and 13 GCAA Outstanding Academic Teams.

A native of Greenlawn, N.Y., Mueller has been involved with committees at both the conference, regional, and national levels. The NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee, GCAA All-America Scholar Committee, NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Committee, and ECAC Division III Men’s Golf Committee have seen Mueller serve, as has the Ivy League Golf Coaches as chair. 

Through the Metropolitan Section, Mueller earned his Master PGA Professional Candidacy in Teaching & Coaching in 2021. He has competed in MET PGA Championships, USGA, and other local professional-sanctioned events, published articles in PGA Magazine and Sports Illustrated, spoken on PGA Show panels, and run four to six camps annually at Columbia-related facilities. 

Mueller teaches a recreational golf class and brought Get Golf Ready! to Columbia. With this addition, the Physical Education golf class curriculum was revamped to reflect the PGA’s goals. He has also volunteered at Patriot Golf Day pro-ams benefitting the Folds of Honor Foundation and veteran officers from West Point, the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, and the 2015 Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club and programs such as the First Tee of Metropolitan New York at Mosholu, mentoring participants for college golf, City Parks Junior Golf at Dyker Park, spending six hours per week with underprivileged junior golfers from the five Boroughs of New York City creating practice plans for their respective goals, and HOPE, donating various equipment items to ensure participants could practice and play.

“I also want to recognize Mr. Harris, who paved the way for college coaches to become Class A Professionals,” continued Mueller. “His vision of including coaches within the PGA ranks is why this award exists.” 

All-Time Recipients

2023 - Rich Mueller (Columbia/Metropolitan PGA Section)

2022 - Tim Poe (Central Missouri/Midwest PGA Section)

2021 - Scott Flynn (Belmont/Tennessee PGA Section)

2020 - Joe Tesori (Le Moyne College/CNY-PGA Section)

2019 - Jaime Howell (Eastern Florida State/North Florida PGA Section)

2018 - Jerry Haas (Wake Forest/Carolinas PGA Section)

2017 - Scott Cartwright (Cal Poly/Southern California PGA Section)

2016 - Harry Hammond (West Chester/Philadelphia PGA Section)

2015 - Puggy Blackmon (South Carolina/Carolinas PGA Section)

2014 - Mike Mayer (Indiana/Indiana PGA Section)

2013 - Mike Small (Illinois/Illinois PGA Section)

2012 - Pat Goss (Northwestern/Illinois PGA Section)

2011 - John Bermel (Northern Iowa/Iowa PGA Section)

2010 - Rick Pohle (Williams/Northeastern New York PGA Section)

2009 - Pat Owen (Navy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section)

2008 - Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section)

2007 - Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section)

2006 - Rod Myers (Duke/Carolinas PGA Section)

2005 - Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section)

2004 - Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section)