Mark Gaynor is entering his 15th season as head coach of the FMU men's golf program.
In his previous 14 campaigns, Gaynor has compiled a 958-1322-42 record, while helping lead the team in its transition from NCAA Division II affiliation to Division I membership.
This past season, Francis Marion recorded eight Top-15 finishes in 11 events, including a pair of seventh-place showings during the spring portion of the schedule. The young squad, which listed no seniors on the roster, posted a 299.77 stroke average. The team earned a GCAA All-Academic Team award for the fourth consecutive year (also earning President's Special Recognition accolades for having a team GPA of 3.5 or better - one of only 19 schools nationwide and the only Palmetto State program) and two golfers garnered Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars recognition, marking the 17th and 18th instances where a Patriot golfer has earned national academic recognition since the inception of the program in 1971.
In 2015-16, the Patriots posted seven Top-10 team finishes in 12 events, led by a sixth-place showing at the UNCW Seahawk Invitational. FMU registered a 296.53 stroke average. For the third year in a row, FMU gained a Golf Coaches Association of America All-Academic Team award (also earning President's Special Recognition accolades for having a team GPA of 3.5 or better - one of only 24 schools nationwide). One team member earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars recognition.
In 2014-15, Francis Marion finished strong by recording four Top-5 finishes in each of its final four events (and five of the last seven). FMU placed third in the season-ending Wolfpack Spring Open Tournament hosted by N.C. State. In the next to last event of the year, the Patriots registered a season-low seven-under 857 team score while placing fifth at the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational Tournament. Led by senior Lukas Crisp's 72.78 stroke average, the team tallied a 296.70 stroke average for 30 rounds. FMU gained a Golf Coaches Association of America All-Academic Team award (also earning President's Special Recognition accolades for having a team GPA of 3.5 or better - one of only 10 schools nationwide). Three of his team members garnered Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars recognition, marking the 13th, 14th, and 15th instances where a Patriot golfer has earned national academic recognition since the inception of the program in 1971. For the third year in a row, junior Will Godfrey played in the men’s individual invitational of the 29th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship, finishing tied for 14th with a three-day score of 237.
In 2013-14, the Patriots registered seven Top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments, including a season-best tie for fourth place at the SpringHill Suites Intercollegiate Tournament. The squad received a 2014 Golf Coaches Association of America All-Academic Team award presented by Farmers Insurance. FMU recorded a 299.39 stroke average, led by junior Lukas Crisp (74.97 stroke average), who posted six sub-par rounds and three Top-15 finishes. Sophomore Will Godfrey finished fourth with a 54-hole total of 231 in the men’s individual invitational of the 28th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.
During the 2012-13 campaign, he guided FMU to seven Top-10 team finishes (including three Top-5 showings) in 11 tournaments, while the team carded a 301.84 stroke average for 31 rounds. The Patriots placed second at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate Tournament on Hilton Head Island. FMU freshman Will Godfrey competed in the 27th-annual PGA Minority Collegiate Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
In 2011-12, the Patriots posted a 98-92-4 record, including seven Top-10 team finishes. Francis Marion placed a season-best fourth at William & Mary's C&F Bank Intercollegiate and fifth at Western Carolina's Hummingbird Intercollegiate. FMU posted a 298.07 team stroke average for the 2011-12 season (28 rounds). Junior Sebastian Backlund earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars recognition.
In 2008-09, FMU's second as a full-fledged Division I member, the Patriots posted a 109-51-2 record, including five Top-5 finishes in 11 events, and finished just outside the Top-100 rankings. Francis Marion finished in the top half of the team standings in nine of the 11 tournaments, highlighted by third-place showings at the Adams Cup of Newport (hosted by the University of Rhode Island), UVA's Cavalier Classic, and FMU's own Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate on Hilton Head Island.
In Francis Marion's first season (2007-08) as a Division I member, the Patriots registered a 100-66 record. The team finished in the top half of the team standings in eight of 11 events (five Top 5 finishes), highlighted by the Patriots winning its first Division I event: the First Market Bank Intercollegiate hosted by The College of William and Mary.
In Gaynor's first season at Francis Marion, the Patriots were 108-55-6 and captured the 2004 Peach Belt Conference title. He took the Patriots to the Division II regional tournament in each of his first two seasons, prior to the move to Division I. In its first year (2005-06) as a transitional member of Division I, FMU was a 67-63-5 and placed third at the 2006 Division I Independent Golf Championships. In 2006-07, the Patriots dipped to 48-95-1 while playing a tough schedule of almost entirely Division I opponents.
Gaynor has coached six academic All-Americans and one honorable-mention All-American in his time at FMU.
A native of Niles, Mich., Gaynor was the head coach at the University of Texas-Pan American, an NCAA Division I independent, for three years before accepting the FMU position. In 2002, he guided the Broncs to the National Minority College Golf Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. In the spring of 2003, his team placed fourth at the championships.
His 2002-03 Texas-Pan American squad recorded six top-10 team finishes in 11 tournaments. The Broncs placed 11th at FMU's own Carolina First Intercollegiate Tournament, in September 2002 at the Country Club of South Carolina.
When Gaynor took over as the UTPA head coach in 2000, he became the Broncs' first full-time men's golf coach. He raised the program's Golfweek-Saragin (national) Ranking more than 75 positions during his tenure.
Prior to taking the UTPA position, he served as an assistant men's and women's coach at Furman University for three seasons, under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Mic Potter and Todd Satterfield. He also served as an assistant athletic academic adviser at Furman, monitoring the academic progress of student-athletes while handling advising and counseling duties. He worked as a group instructor at the Mic Potter Golf Academy for four summers.
Gaynor played collegiate golf at Michigan State University, where he earned a B.S. degree in physical education and exercise science in 1995. He later received a M.Ed. degree in sports management from the University of Georgia.
A one-time member of the Powerbilt Golf Tour, Gaynor has earned numerous amateur playing honors. He captured the 2000 Palmetto Amateur championship in Aiken, and participated in the 2000 USGA Mid-Amateur in Hot Springs, Va.
Gaynor won the 2012 Country Club of South Carolina club championship. He is a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America. He has also participated in the Starting New At Golf (SNAG) program aimed at area youth.