Richard Sykes, longtime NC State men’s golf coach, dies at 78

Richard Sykes, who coached the North Carolina State men’s golf program for 46 years, has died. He was 78 years old.

Sykes took over the Wolfpack program in 1971 before retiring in 2017. He was inducted into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 and has coached 34 All-Americas, including former PGA Tour winners Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson and the late Vance Heafner. Sykes led NC State to 24 NCAA regional appearances, 12 NCAA championship appearances and the program’s only ACC title in 1990 during his tenure.

“Richard Sykes is one of the pillars on which NC State Athletics is built,” NC State director of athletics Boo Corrigan said in a statement. “Although he was our primary men’s golf coach for 46 years, Coach Sykes was so much more than that to NC State. He was a passionate leader, educator and builder of young men. He had an infectious personality. and I don’t know of anyone who has spent time with Coach Sykes who hasn’t come away with a great story to share and a deeper appreciation for him and his program It’s a huge loss to our university and my condolences go out to his wife Pam, his children, David, Rick, Paige and Stacy and his five grandchildren.

Sykes was a 1968 graduate of NC State, where he earned his degree in Recreation and Parks Administration. He ran on the freshman track team at NC State and was also on the men’s varsity golf team for the 1965-66 season.

He oversaw the completion of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, NC State’s home golf course designed by Arnold Palmer’s Course Design Company. A former member of the National Advisory Board of the Golf Coaches Association of America, Sykes served on the NCAA Selection Committee and also served as its chairman.