On July 30, 2014, Bucknell director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced the hiring of Michael Binney, Major, USMC (Ret.), as head men's golf coach. A veteran of more than 20 years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps, Binney has turned to a career in golf. He has spent the previous four years as assistant professional at Ebensburg Country Club, and from 2010-12 he was assistant men's golf coach at Saint Francis (Pa.) University.
In his first three seasons at Bucknell, Binney has guided the Bison to three tournament victories: the 2015 and 2016 Lehigh Invitational, and the 2016 Yale Invitational. Bucknell finished third at the 2017 Patriot League Championship, its highest finish in eight years.
After retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps, Binney attended the Professional Golfers Career College in Orlando, Fla., in 2009. He also received his USGA rules official credentials in 2010 and has been an active member of the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association's tournament operations. In April 2011 Binney was hired as assistant pro at Ebensburg CC, and he also served as an assistant coach at Saint Francis under former Red Flash head coach Nick Wheeler.
Binney was an attack helicopter pilot during his two-decade tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to the rank of major. A 1986 graduate of Boston College, Binney received a master's degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 2003, where he completed his thesis on Joint Close Air Support in the Low Intensity Conflict. He also attended Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia in 1996 and Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 2000.
Binney's overseas deployments included service in Somalia, Bosnia, and multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was recognized for his actions with the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. His most recent service was as a pilot stationed at the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he was a member of an aviation squadron responsible for operational flight planning, maintenance control, scheduling and quality assurance for 18 USMC helicopters. He also spent three years (2003-06) with the Joint Special Operations Command headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and earlier in his career he served in various roles as a pilot based out of Camp Pendleton, California and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“I am pleased to welcome Michael Binney to our golf community and the Bison Athletics family,” said Hardt. “Prior to turning his professional aspirations to the sport of golf, Mike acquired critical leadership and organizational development skills during his long and successful career in the military. Those abilities will translate very well to the coaching profession, where he will be mentoring a highly motivated group of student-athletes with aspirations of competing for future Patriot League championships.”
“I am very excited about the opportunity that John Hardt and Bucknell University has entrusted in me, and I am looking forward to working with the Bison student-athletes starting this fall,” said Binney at the time of his hiring. “The Bucknell men's golf program is poised for continued success with tremendous facilities, a strong historical foundation and a talented group of returning players who exhibit the ideals of true scholar-athletes.”
Binney succeeded Jim Cotner, who retired in May 2014 after leading the Bucknell men's golf team to three Patriot League titles and 16 tournament wins during his 13-year tenure as head coach. Binney became just the sixth head coach in the 70-plus-year history of the Bucknell men's golf program, following in the footsteps of Harold Evans (1939-42, 1946-66), Brad Tufts (1967-75), Jeff Ranck (1976-81), Tommy Thompson (1982-2001) and Cotner (2001-14).