MORROW, Ga.-- Clayton State took its next step in competitive men’s golf on Wednesday as athletic director Mason Barfield announced the hiring of Steve Runge as the new men’s head golf coach at Clayton State. Runge comes to the Laker program following a five-year stint as a certified instructor at the prestigious IMG David Ledbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Runge replaces Barry Harwell, who left Clayton State over the summer to take a similar position at West Georgia. Harwell helped pace the Lakers to the 2009 Peach Belt Conference championship and a 10th-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division II National Championships.

“We are very excited about having Steve Runge join our very successful staff of coaches,” said Barfield. “I am confident that Steve will continue to build upon the great foundations that Barry Harwell established for our golf program during his tenure. His golf connections within the United States golf community, as well as around the world, should certainly expand the pool of championship caliber players that can help us continue to take our teams to NCAA national tournaments.”

A native of Mission Viejo, Calif., Runge enjoyed a 15-year professional playing career, mostly on the Nationwide Tour. He played on the Nationwide Tour for nine years, where he won the 2000 Richmond Open. In addition, Runge also won the Utah Open in 1997 and the 2001 Panama Open, plus recorded a second-place finish at the 2001 Louisiana Open and a fifth-place finish at the 2000 Dayton Open.

Runge also qualified for the Asian Tour in 1993, as well as played in various tournaments in Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.  He also had a brief stint on the PGA Tour in 1993, qualifying for both the Buick Open at the Hardees Classic. He also had numerous wins and top finishes on various mini-tours during his playing career.

As a certified instructor at the IMG David Ledbetter Academy, Runge has worked with all players, ranging from juniors to post-grads to adults. That includes all aspects of the game from the long game, short game, putting, course management and the mental side of golf.

Runge enjoyed a solid collegiate career at Ohio State, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. He lettered three seasons under head coach Jim Brown, serving as co-captain during his senior season in 1992. While at Ohio State, Runge helped pace the Buckeyes to the 1990 Big Ten championship and a 10th-place finish in the 1990 NCAA National Championships.

While at Ohio State, Runge was teammates with Gary Nicklaus, the son of PGA legend Jack Nicklaus.

During his junior golf career, Runge was an AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) first team All-American in 1986.

"I am very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to getting started with the team,” said Runge. “Becoming a college golf coach is something I have always desired and I am very happy to be the coach at Clayton State University."