In the fall of 2014, West Virginia University’s athletic department announced that the men’s golf program would be reinstated. Since 2015, the golf program has competed under head coach Sean Covich in the Big 12 and at the end of the 2021 spring season, the seniors from one of Covich’s original recruiting classes will tee off for the final time.
The two seniors that will graduate and move onto professional golf at season's end — Logan Perkins and Mark Goetz — have been the anchors to the program’s fast growth from a startup to a yearly contender within the Big 12 conference.
“Those guys (Perkins, Goetz) have played such an important role in developing the program,” said fellow teammate Etienne Papineau. “It’s crazy to think how far the program has come in such a short amount of time.”
Perkins — from Locust Grove, Georgia — was one of Covich’s first major recruits, as he accumulated an impressive resume in high school at Strong Rock Christian High School. Perkins ranked within the top 200 high school golfers nationally at No. 110 and No. 7 in the entire state of Georgia, and claimed the state title in his senior year with a carded score of 67.
Upon arriving in Morgantown, Perkins was an immediate starter for Covich, playing 16 rounds in six tournaments as a true freshman, including a top-10 finish and posted a career-low 216 to place eighth at the Irish Creek Collegiate. He improved even more during his sophomore season, where he had five top-25 finishes, including at the Big 12 championships and the NCAA Louisville Regionals.
As an upperclassmen, he played 22 rounds in eight different tournaments en route to being named the WVU golf player of the year. Perkins’ season was highlighted by posting four top-10 finishes on the season, setting a new 18-hole program record-low with a 62 at the Florida Gators Invitational and a career-best, two second-place finishes.
“Perk (Perkins) has always been one of our most consistent guys; what an absolutely amazing round,” said Covich after the program record-setting performance in 2020. “To shoot a 62 on a day when the pins were tucked and wind was blowing 15-20 miles per hour all day was impressive.”
Alongside Perkins, there is fellow senior Mark Goetz, who is considered to be one of the leaders of the program, and one of the most vital players to play under Covich at WVU.
“When Pap (Papineau) went down, Mark really stepped into the role as leader of this team,” said Covich. “He really has stepped into that role nicely, and I knew he’d be that leader when he first came into the program.”
The Greensburg, Pennsylvania, native came out of The Kiski School as a seven-time medalist in championship competitions, a school record. He also won the 2016 Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association state championship, while recording a top-five finish in the PGA junior series.
In his first year representing WVU on the golf course, Goetz played 31 rounds in 10 tournaments as a true freshman, including the 2018 Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship, while also recording three top-20 finishes on the year.
Goetz only appeared four times for the Mountaineers during his sophomore season, but recorded a season-low 54-hole total of 210 at the Ka’anapali Golf Course, finishing three-under par, while also serving as an alternate for the NCAA Louisville Regionals that year.
His junior season saw much more playing time with seven appearances for Covich, including finishing in a tie for second place at the Health Plan Mountaineer Invitational, notching a three-round total of 71-74-70=215 for one-under par.
Upon his senior season, Goetz has been viewed as the de-facto team captain with Papineau sidelined with a knee injury. Goetz has led the way for the Mountaineers in three out of four tournaments played so far, recording a top-25 finish at the Gators Invitational and a top-10 finish of sixth at the Seminole Intercollegiate, where he shot an impressive three-round score of 72-67-71=210 to finish six-under-par.
"Mark has meant so much to our program these past three seasons," said Covich. "He's a great teammate and has developed into a leader for us. I am so happy for him because I know how much this team means to him."
Both Perkins and Goetz have expressed their desire to turn professional after the conclusion of their collegiate golf career and graduation from WVU. Each golfer must compete at the amateur level and qualifying tournaments before reaching the professional stage and the PGA tour.