This story is the second installment of a four-part series featuring the 2023 A-State Hall of Honor inductees.
Prior to 1997, no Arkansas State men’s golf team had reached the NCAA Regional round.
That was until Brian McCann, David Faught and Zolton Veress formed a stellar trio of the Neil Abel-coached squad that broke through and put A-State on the map in the sport. Since then, the floodgates have seemingly opened, with the now-Red Wolves contending nationally year-in and year-out.
While Faught and the late longtime coach Abel were inducted into A-State’s Hall of Honor in 2008, McCann – who was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2022 – joins them as the latest men’s golfer to join the illustrious group. The Canadian will be added as a member of the 2023 class on Friday, Sept. 22.
“It’s very humbling and I’m proud of the achievement,” McCann said. “I lived in South Africa for almost four months in 2002 when I was playing on the Sunshine Tour because of David. David was a special player and probably one of the hardest workers I’d ever seen up to that point. We strived to beat each other. As close friends as we were, we were proud of what each of us did, but it made us hungrier to beat each other. Coach Abel – I can still picture his face – he and his wife Margaret. He caddied for me one year in the U.S. Amateur in 1995 – the second one that Tiger Woods won. I know he’s gone now, but it was a special four years.”
McCann was introduced to the sport through his father, who worked night shifts – often arriving home at 7:30 or 8 a.m. – and loved to play. But often the only way he could play was if he took young Brian to the course with him.
That early introduction led to McCann later becoming one of the top juniors in Ontario. He ultimately played in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) – earning Third Team All-American honors in 1993 before choosing A-State over historically-strong golf programs Kent State, Pepperdine and Minnesota.
Before McCann’s arrival in Jonesboro, Arkansas State’s golf history was not near as strong as it is now. He noted that the program began to transform after he and Faught joined the fold. And in that fourth year, A-State advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in school history.
McCann then embarked on a professional career, playing five years on the Canadian Tour along with time on the Nationwide Tour – what is now known as the Korn Ferry Tour. While he did not enjoy immediate success, in fall 2002 he began working with longtime friend and best man in his wedding Sean Foley – now known as one of the PGA Tour’s top instructors who has also worked with Woods, Justin Rose, Danny Willett and others.
By the fall 2003, things began to change for McCann. He made the final stage of PGA’s Q School in 2003 and 2005 at Orange County National in Orlando while Monday qualifying for three PGA Tour Events over his career.
Now an associate pro and directing instruction at Islington Golf Club in the Toronto area, McCann understands the gravity of being named one of the best to ever play the game at his alma mater.
“I never really thought about it for myself,” McCann adds. “I was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame last July, which was a great honor for myself and my family. To hear about Arkansas State (inducting me into the Hall of Honor) is special.”
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Feature Story: 2023 Hall of Honor Inductee Brian McCann. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council