EUGENE, Ore. - Long-time University of Oregon golf coach Steve Nosler passed away Friday following a brief illness. He was 74.

Nosler, a beloved figure at the Casanova Center, served a combined 20 years as Oregon's men's golf head coach, assistant coach and director of operations.

"Our hearts are saddened today by the loss of one of our own athletic family," said Director of Athletics Rob Mullens. "Steve Nosler not only was a vibrant member of the golfing community, but he was an avid fan of all the Duck teams and he truly touched the lives of every single person he encountered during his long and distinguished career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steve's wife, Bunny, and his family."

Nosler paved the way for the Ducks' recent run of success that has seen them twice finish tied for third at the NCAA Championships in the last three seasons, an all-time pinnacle for the program.

In fact, with Nosler ailing and unable to travel with the team to the NCAA Championships in May at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palasades, Calif., the Duck golfers honored him by inscribing "NOS" on the golf balls they used to defeat UCLA in the quarterfinals.

After leading the Oregon men's golf program for 14 seasons from 1993-2006, Nosler stepped down to assistant coach in order to allow his protégé, Casey Martin, to become head coach. Last summer, he took on the role of director of operations.

The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year guided the Ducks to 11 tournament titles and nine NCAA West Regionals during his tenure. He also coached Oregon to NCAA Championship appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2003.

In his 14 years as head coach, Nosler tutored nine All-Pac-10 first- or second-team players, and one All-American. One of his most well-known golfers is current PGA Tour member Ben Crane (1997-00), who has four career tour victories and nearly $17 million in career earnings through last weekend's AT&T National tournament.

During his head coaching tenure, Nosler's squads won 11 tournaments and finished in the top five in nearly 40 percent (73-of-192) of all events his teams entered, including conference and NCAA tournaments.

Nosler was only the eighth man to hold the head men's golf coaching position at Oregon, and his tenure of 14 years is second only to Sid Milligan, Nosler's collegiate coach who led the program for 17 seasons from 1947-63.

Nosler was active in Oregon golf for over 25 years, both as a volunteer organizing fund-raising activities and as an executive on the Oregon Golf Association board. He was inducted into the University's Golf Hall of Fame in 1985.

He served as tournament chairman for three Pacific Coast Amateur Golf Tournaments, two Oregon Amateur Championships and two Oregon Junior Golf Championships. It was Nosler's work in these areas that has brought several tournaments to Eugene.

A lifelong Eugene resident, Nosler graduated from Eugene High in 1955. He joined the University's golf team as a freshman. Following graduation in 1959 with a B.S. in business, Nosler was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He spent seven and a half years on active or inactive duty, attaining the rank of captain, before returning to civilian status where his long involvement with the Oregon golf community began.

"Steve Nosler has been a great friend and a huge part of this department, community and golf in Oregon for many years," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Jim Bartko, who is the Ducks' administrator for men's golf. "We will miss him immensely."

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