Playing for Kishwaukee College wasn’t an option for local golfer Thomas Brennan when he was closing out his accomplished high school career just over a decade ago. That will change this coming school year, however, and Brennan will be tasked with leading the Kougar and Lady Kougar golfers in the program’s first season back since prior to 2010.
Brennan has been hired as the head coach of the Kishwaukee College men’s and women’s golf teams, which will compete during the 2020-21 school year in Region IV of the NJCAA. Brennan, who competed collegiately at the College of Lake County and Hannibal-LaGrange University, an NAIA program, has been coaching for the last several years, spending five seasons at Hannibal-LaGrange and one season at Johnson & Wales University’s Denver campus.
“My wife and I were looking to move back to the area and I had been talking with Mitch [Hamilton] at Fairways since I had been planning to help run some tournaments and junior golf camps,” Brennan said. “He let me know that the coach Kishwaukee College had initially hired resigned in June, so I reached out to the athletic director and we had a couple of good interviews. It’s a good fit for me, and Kishwaukee will be using Fairways as its home course.”
A Rochelle native, Brennan led the Hubs to two straight IHSA 2A Sectional appearances during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He began his collegiate career at Nicholls State University in 2009 before transferring to the College of Lake County and finishing at Hannibal-LaGrange. Brennan immediately made the leap to coaching in 2014, when HLGU hired him to lead the program.
“It will be a different type of experience with the Kishwaukee College program,” Brennan said. “We’re going to have a much greater emphasis on recruiting local athletes… What I’m going to enjoy most about coaching at Kishwaukee College is giving local players an opportunity to compete that I didn’t have in high school. We had a lot of good players on our team when I was in high school, but we had to spread out because Kishwaukee didn’t have a program.”
Brennan guided the HLGU golf program to nine tournament victories throughout his five years as the university’s head coach. He was also responsible for doubling the program’s men’s roster size and for bringing in the No. 1 ranked NAIA freshman class for the 2017-18 season, according to GolfStat. Brennan earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2014.
A local champion, Brennan has won multiple Fairways club titles, and he continues to compete in tournaments outside of coaching. His experience and vast knowledge of the Rochelle course will be very useful to the Kougar and Lady Kougar players this coming season.
“Coaching gives me time to continue competing while also helping kids improve and become successful golfers,” Brennan said. “I know what kids are looking for in a program and I want our program to be as player-friendly as possible while maintaining high standards for work ethic and academics. I want our kids to have fun on the golf course. It doesn’t matter what they shoot when they arrive. What I look for is how much they’re improving.”