Jordan Byrd is in his 11th year as Clemson assistant golf coach. He has been regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation in recent years. Twice in the last six years he has been one of 10 semifinalists for the Jan Strickland Award, which is presented by Taylor Made-Adidas Golf and given to the top assistant coach in the nation by the Golf Coaches Association.
The Strickland Award is presented to the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA or NJCAA assistant coach that, among other things, has excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom.
Byrd was a big reason Clemson advanced to the NCAA National Tournament in Tampa, Fla last year. The Tigers have four first or second place finishes in 2014-15, including tying Georgia Tech at the end or regulation of the ACC Tournament before losing in a playoff.
From recruiting to golf instruction to facility enhancement to overall administration of the program, Byrd has had a positive influence on Larry Penley's program. He had a big hand in the design and fund raising for the Larry Penley Golf Building that was dedicated in the fall of 2011.
In his first 10 years with the program, Clemson finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships three times, a number-seven finish in 2006 and a number-five finish in 2008, and a 16th place finish in 2010. The program reached the NCAA Tournament each year and has been ranked in the final top 25 of the Sagarin computer rankings six times.
Clemson's number-five finish in 2008 was the best for the program since it won the national championship in 2003. Clemson also won the Furman Invitational three times, and finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional. The program has had a US Public Links Champion, a US Amateur runner-up and two runner-up finishes at the NCAA Tournament.
Byrd had a significant impact on Clemson's top five recruiting class that entered Clemson in August of 2006. Sam Saunders and Kyle Stanley were both ranked among the top 10 junior players in the nation and went on to have outstanding freshman seasons.
The class also included 2010 All-American Ben Martin, who was a three-time All-ACC player and has been among the top 50 players in the World in 2015. All three are on the PGA Tour in 2014-15. Stanley finished 31st on the PGA Tour money list in 2012 and won a tournament. Martin finished 70th on the money list in 2013-14 and won the PGA event in Las Vegas in the fall of 2014, making him fully exempt into 2017.
Byrd also recruited first-team AJGA All-American Crawford Reeves in 2009 and Corbin Mills, another top AJGA player. The top recruiting continued in 2011 when the Tigers signed first-team AJGA All-American Billy Kennerly and in 2012 when AJGA Player of the Year Cody Proveaux signed with Clemson. The Tigers added AJGA All-Americans Carson Young and Austin Langdale in 2013.
Byrd moved into the newly created assistant golf coach position at Clemson University on August 4, 2005. He became Clemson's first assistant coach in the sport since the 1982-83 academic year when Larry Penley held the position before he succeeded Bobby Robinson as Clemson's head coach the following year.
Byrd has considerable experience as a player and is familiar with the Clemson program. He was the Southern Conference Champion in 1997 as a junior, and is the brother of former Clemson All-American and current PGA Tour player Jonathan Byrd.
Jordan Byrd was the captain of the Furman golf team his senior year (1997-98). He won the Southern Conference Championship as a junior in 1997 when the Paladins also won the team title. With that team championship, Furman qualified as a team for the NCAA tournament for the first time in the program's history.
Byrd had 11 top 10 finishes in his career at Furman and was named to the All-Southern Conference team in 1997 and 1998. He led the team in stroke average as a junior (74.1) and had a career stroke average of 75.72, still among the best in Furman history. He had a career best 66 at the 1996 Old Dominion Seascape Invitational and was Furman's top golfer in nine different tournaments over his career.
Over his final two seasons as a collegian, he competed against his brother Jonathan and the Clemson Tigers four times. It is interesting to note that the brothers had the exact same 54-hole score in two of the four tournaments. They tied for eighth with 218 scores at the 1997 Furman Invitational, then had identical 229 scores at the NCAA East Regional later that year at Hot Springs, VA. Jordan was a junior at Furman and Jonathan a freshman at Clemson that year.
Byrd comes from an athletic family. In addition to the accomplishments of his brother, his father, the late Jim Byrd, was a standout football player at North Carolina in the 1960s. Jim Byrd and his wife Jo were omnipresent at Clemson golf events supporting the Tigers.
Jordan also had an outstanding amateur career, a playing career that continues today. He reached the semifinals of the North-South in 1997. In 2006 he finished second in the South Carolina Amateur (tied with Clemson player Phillip Mollica). He also qualified for the US Amateur and the US Mid-Amateur. In both qualifiers, he won medalist honors. He also teamed with his father, to win the South Carolina Father-Son Amateur Championship in the summer of 2006.
In the fall of 2007 he reached the quarterfinals of the United States Mid-Amateur. He was just three victories away from joining his brother at the 2008 Masters. Byrd was ranked among the top 100 amateurs according to the Golfweek Amateur rankings for most of the summer of 2007. In 2008 he advanced to the second round of the US Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club before he was defeated in 23 holes by former Clemson golfer Stephen White. He also qualified for stroke play of the Mid-Amateur in 2009. He played in the National Four Ball Tournament at the Olympic Class in San Francisco in 2015.
A native of Columbia, SC, Byrd graduated from Spring Valley High School, where he was an outstanding golfer and wrestler. He reached the state finals in his weight class on the wrestling mat in 1994, the same year he finished in the top 10 in the state golf tournament. On the course, he led Spring Valley High to three top five finishes in the state tournament. He won the Spring Valley Invitational as a senior and captured the 1993 Junior World Optimist title.
After graduating from Furman in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, Byrd pursued a professional career for two years. He played on the Hooter's Tour and the Tear Drop Tour during his professional and had four top five finishes.
From May of 2001 to the summer of 2005, Byrd worked as a salesman, trader, portfolio manager, and technical analyst at DiBiasio & Edgington Inc. in Annandale, VA.
Byrd married the former Erika Newsom in December of 2012. They have a son, James Jones Byrd, who was born Feb. 25, 2014.
BYRD QUICK FACTS
Born: July 19, 1976 in Lexington, SC.
Education: Graduated from Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC in 1994; Graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC in 1998.
Family: Son of Jim and Jo Byrd of Columbia, SC; Brother of PGA Tour player Jonathan Byrd; Married the former Erika Newsom in December of 2012. Son James Jones Byrd born Feb. 25, 2014.
Playing Experience: Four-year letterman at Furman University, 1994-98.
Coaching Experience: Clemson assistant coach 2005-present; Clemson has been to six straight NCAAs and had two top 10 finishes and three top 16s; Recruited 2009 Ben Hogan Award winner Kyle Stanley and 2010 All-American Ben Martin.
Honors: Southern Conference Champion in 1997; Qualified for US Amateur in US Mid-Amateur in 2006; Quarterfinalist at 2007 United States Mid-Amateur; Semifinalist for Jan Strickland Award (assistant coach of the year) in 2010 and 2012.