When Bronco golf coach Skip Gooch retired, it was a big loss for the Institute. He had built the struggling program to one that saw all five 2016 freshmen return for the 2017 season. But the golfers won’t be losing a beat under the watchful eye of Andy Robertson, who’s not only seen his children become top golfers, but has been with NMMI for almost 20 years, coaching just about every sport there is.
“I’ve had girls’ basketball, men’s soccer, wrestling – everything that you can name that we’ve had here at the Institute I’ve been involved in,” he said.
Including football, which was his main sport and what brought him to New Mexico Military Institute.
He came to NMMI when former athletic director Lefty Steckelin was the Bronco head football coach.
“I was the offensive coordinator,” Robertson said. “They had run the wishbone the previous year. Lefty wanted to go to a split-back veer, and that’s exactly what I was doing at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Later on, I became the defensive coordinator, as the staff was not all that big and you put people where you have to have them.”
That variety kept Robertson in Roswell, where he and his wife, Becky, raised two children.
Becky was the head golf coach at Goddard High School for 16 years, winning 14 state championships and coaching both daughter JoJo and LPGA star Gerina Piller, who is competing in the Rio Olympics.
Son Greg attended NMMI where he played golf for four years before being recruited by Oklahoma State, which was the No. 1 men’s golf team in the country at that time.
“Greg’s sophomore year they beat Tiger Woods and Stanford to win the (NCAA) National Championships,” his proud father said.
After high school, JoJo was a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion, one of only four women to ever do that. She played on the Curtis Cup team for the United States vs. the Europeans, which the U.S. won, and played in two U.S. Opens, where her brother caddied for her.
So golf is in Robertson’s blood, and while he was retired and simply playing the game, he jumped at the chance to get back into action.
“My mind was going to mush and I wanted to make sure I got back in and active again,” he said. “I play golf every day with my buddies here at NMMI, but as soon as the season starts, that’s out the window: my job is to coach. My eventual job is to make sure that, if these guys are worthy and their scores are worthy, then they go somewhere else and get their education paid for and take the burden off of their parents.”
And, as a former football coach, he has thoughts about the program one might not hear from a golf coach, saying he’ll bring “toughness” to the team.
“The old saying is ‘You are what you do, not what you say you can do.’” he said. “In golf it’s very easy to look at the scoreboard. If you shot an 83, there’s no explanations to be had – you are that score. And so, if you want it lower, you work harder. Maybe you had a tough day and things didn’t go right, but so what? The guy that shot 66, he doesn’t care."
“I also think that the time that we spend together as a team will be very worthwhile, the discipline that we’ll have and the attention to detail.”
And he’s happy with the place the program is in.
“Coach Gooch did a fine job, the program is in good shape. We’ve got nine players, five that are coming back, and we hope that through hard work from an old football coach, that we can be competitive.”