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Cal fires golf coach Walter Chun after 27 years at the school

Cal fired men's golf head coach Walter Chun on Tuesday, abruptly and unexpectedly ending Chun's eight-year tenure at the helm of the program.

The school made the announcement in a four-paragraph press release, stating that Chun had been relieved of his duties but did not give a reason.

“We want to thank Walter for his service to Cal as head coach, assistant coach and student-athlete,” athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “Walter has always represented our department and university properly, but we felt it was necessary to move in a different direction at this time.”

Chun responded to a text message from the Chronicle, writing simply: “I don't have much to say other than that Cal Athletics felt it was time to move in a different direction.”

Chun was associated with Cal Golf for 27 years, beginning with his five seasons as a player (1997-2002), followed by two years as an administrative assistant, five more as an assistant coach and seven seasons as associate head coach.

He took over the top job on August 1, 2016, replacing longtime head coach Steve Desimone.

As associate head coach, Chun worked closely with the 2013 Golden Bears, widely considered one of the best college golf teams of all time despite not winning the NCAA championship. Players on that team included future PGA Tour members Max Homa, Michael Kim and Brandon Hagy.

Homa is a six-time tour winner and is currently ranked No. 15 in the world. Chun has also been heavily involved in the recruitment and training of Collin Morikawa, a two-time major champion who is ranked No. 6 in this week's rankings.

Chun was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2017-18, when the Bears were ranked in the top 10 for most of the season. They later missed the postseason three years in a row (2020-22).

The Bears finished 19th at the NCAA Championships last season after landing the third-best recruiting class in the country in 2023.

Assistant Peter Ireland will serve as interim coach, according to Tuesday's press release. Cal said a nationwide search for a permanent successor to Chun will begin immediately.

Reach Ron Kroichick: [email protected]; Twitter: @ronkroichick