First day of the Stanford Classic at Cypress Point
Chris Whitten is in his fourth season as the head coach and his eighth overall with the University of Michigan men's golf team. Prior to taking over the program from Andrew Sapp, Whitten spent five seasons (2006-11) as an assistant coach.
In his three seasons at the helm of the program, Whitten has helped U-M post 14 top-five finishes, including winning the 2013 Detroit Golf Club Invitational as well as the 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship -- the school's first-ever title at the conference event. He also guided All-Big Ten golfers Matt Thompson (2012) and Chris O'Neill (2014) to individual invitations to the NCAA Regional, which was held at the U-M Golf Course for Thompson and Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., for O'Neill.
Whitten also coached Miguel Echavarria, who became U-M's 11th player to earn the prestigious Cleveland/Srixon All-America Scholar award. The Maize and Blue have featured three golfers named to the PING Division-1 All-Midwest Team during Whitten's tenure: Matt Thompson (2012), Chris O'Neill and Brett McIntosh (2014).
While serving as an assistant, the Wolverines made four straight NCAA Regional appearances - winning the program's first team regional title in 2011 - and two NCAA Championship appearances. In 2009, the Wolverines closed sixth to advance to team match play, closing with a semifinalist finish. In 2011, U-M closed 10th, missing match play by just three shots.
In addition to his coaching duties, Whitten has been instrumental in the creation and administration of the Friends of Michigan Golf alumni program, the development of the Wolverine Golf School, as well as the designing and fundraising for U-M's new golf practice facility.
Before joining the Wolverine staff in May 2006, Whitten was an assistant golf professional at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. While there he focused primarily on membership instructional programs, clinics, and group lessons. He also assisted with tournament operations for over 90 summer golf events, including the University of Toledo's Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational during the fall.
Prior to his work at Inverness, Whitten served as the first-ever assistant men's golf coach at Notre Dame for two years (2003-05), helping the Fighting Irish win their first Big East Conference championship in over seven years during the 2003-04 season. In addition to his general assistant duties, he also helped oversee the program's recruiting as well as establishing the formation of the Irish Golf School in 2004. He also served as the assistant tournament director for the 2003 and 2004 Big East Men's Golf Championships and the 2004 NCAA Central Regional Preview tournament.
As a graduate of Notre Dame in 2002, Whitten earned Notre Dame's Varsity Monogram Award as well as the Knute Rockne Scholar Athlete Award in 2002. He helped Notre Dame to two runner-up finishes at the Big East Championships in 1999 and 2002. He graduated with a degree in English and was named a Cleveland Golf / GCAA All-America Scholar.
A native of Rockford, Mich., Whitten has been involved in golf all of his life. He is the son of Buddy Whitten, who was formerly the head golf professional at Blythefield Country Club (Belmont, Mich.) and the Director of Instruction at Pensacola Country Club (Pensacola, Fla.) as well as a member on the PGA Senior Tour in 1997 with Chris serving as his part-time caddy. Buddy was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1993.
Whitten and his wife, Dr. Amy (White) reside in Novi with their two children, Graham and Lucas. Amy, who currently works at Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, Mich.), is a 2006 graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed a Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at Wayne State University & Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD/NIH/DHHS in 2012.