SIOUX FALLS – University of Sioux Falls Director of Athletics Josh Snyder has announced a change in the leadership of the USF men’s and women’s golf programs with the promotion of Sam Vosler to program director.
Vosler, who has served for the past two years as head women’s golf coach, moves into a leadership role overseeing both USF programs. He was elevated to the director role following the departure of former USF men’s coach Brett Bennett who was hired as the University of South Dakota women’s golf coach.
Vosler will be joined by Tavia Rutherford, a former standout USF women’s golfer, who will serve as an assistant coach.
“We look forward to the leadership that Sam will provide to these two important programs,” said Snyder. “Sam will be assisted by Tavia (Rutherford), one of the USF women’s program’s all-time greats. We are excited about the future of these two programs with this leadership team and the amount of talent up and down the respective men’s and women’s rosters.”
According to Vosler, he looks forward to the opportunity to work with the two USF squads.
“I’m extremely blessed and honored to be named the Director of Golf for the USF Golf program,” said Vosler, who led the USF Women’s Team to a program-best third place finish in 2017-18 and All-NSIC performer Lexi Hanson reached the NCAA DII regionals. The USF men’s team placed eighth, led by first-team All-NSIC performer J.J. Cooney.
“I want to thank my Athletic Director Josh Snyder for this opportunity,” said Vosler. “I’m committed to the long-term success of both golf programs, which are in a great position within the NSIC and have the opportunity to really be special. I can’t wait to see what this year brings and how we can build momentum for both programs.”
“I’m confident USF is going to continue to grow into one of the best DII golf programs in the Midwest. My vision is to provide these student-athletes with a culture and support system that is going to push them to be their best version on and off the course,” he said.
Vosler, who has been an active member of the Professional Golfer Association of America since 2014, is also in his second year at the Sanford Golf Academy, where he is one of the lead instructors.
Before coming to USF, he served as assistant women’s golf coach at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Vosler co-managed and operated a 15,000 square foot indoor golf training facility from 2013-16 where he also provided golf instruction to competitive golfers and the golf community. He served as the program coordinator and assisted in leading The First Tee chapter in Colorado Springs
At the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Vosler earned his B.S. degree in Business Service Management (PGA Golf Management at UCCS in December 2014. During his time with the PGA degree program at UCCS, Vosler worked at the Hank Haney International Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C., in 2013. In addition, he worked with PGA Professional Scott Dirck at the Scott Dirck’s Golf Academy in Alexandria, Minn., in 2012. Vosler started his journey in the golf industry as an intern at Minnewaska Golf Club in Glenwood, Minn., in 2011.
As a player, Vosler won the SCCC Pro-Am (Dakotas Tour) in 2009 and also completed the Player Ability Test, which is required for PGA status.
Vosler looks forward to working with Rutherford, who brings substantial experience and knowledge about the programs and success on the course while a student-athlete at USF.
“I’m very eager to work alongside of her and start mapping out our plans for the upcoming season. An undervalued skill Tavia has is her people skills and ability to connect with just about anyone,” said Vosler. “With her background in sport psychology, I already know the value she’s going to bring to the table. A big focus for both squads is and will continue to be course management, strategy and spirit within the game,” he said.
A native of Bakersfield, Calif., Rutherford competed at USF from 2011-15, reaching the NCAA DII Regionals three times and the NCAA DII National Tournament as a senior, a first for a USF golfer. Rutherford graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science in 2015 from USF.
Rutherford, who is also an admissions counselor at USF, had an outstanding career at USF, beginning in 2012-13 when she became USF’s first golfer to compete in the NCAA DII Central Region Tournament. As a junior (2013-14), she placed sixth at the NSIC Women’s Golf Championships, earning a berth at the NCAA Regionals for a second straight year.
As a senior, Rutherford, a three-time All-NSIC performer, was named the NSIC Golfer of the Year, the first in school history. As a senior she was named the NCAA Elite 89 Award winner (2014-15), the highest academic honor bestowed on a student-athlete. Capping off an outstanding career she equaled her best round of the NCAA Championship and finished in a tie for 37th. Competing as an individual out of the Central Region, Rutherford finished as the fourth-highest golfer out of 18 Central Region competitors. One of seven golfers from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, Rutherford was the highest finisher NSIC representative at the NCAA Championship. She was also named to the Women's Golf Coaches' Association All-Central Region team for the 2014-15 season. She was the first USF women's golfer to earn all-region honors from the WGCA.
Also at USF, Rutherford was one of the mostly highly decorated student-athletes, earning the Butch Raymond Scholarship Award, being named an NSIC Honor Student-Athlete, receiving the Myles Brand Award and being named an FCA Honor Athlete. She was also named the Outstanding Senior Exercise Science Student for her research exploring the effects of imagery direction on golf-putting performance at USF.
After leaving USF, she earned a Master of Arts degree in sport and performance psychology from University of Denver in 2017. At DU, she served as the Head of Operations for the Center for Performance Excellence (CPEX) as well as a mental skills consultant working with a variety of athletic teams.