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Former Maverick Golf Coach Mike Zinni Remembered as Great Teacher, Ambassador

Zinni coached men's golf at Minnesota State Mankato from 2003 to 2009.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release 7-30-2014

Mankato, Minn. – The Minnesota State University, Mankato sports community is expressing its sympathy and loss at the death of former Minnesota State Mankato men's golf coach Mike Zinni.

Zinni died Wednesday, July 30 from a lung infection for which he had been hospitalized in Rochester for a month. He was 65.

For the past 28 years, he had served as the golf pro and, since 2008, general manager of the Mankato Golf Club.

A native of Vernon, Texas, Zinni won a golf scholarship to the University of Houston, later transferring to Midwestern State in Wichita Falls. In 1970, while a senior at Midwestern State, he earned Division II All-American honors.

The longtime golfer made his home in the Mankato area and oversaw operations at the Mankato Golf Club. He served as head coach of the Minnesota State Mankato men’s golf team from 2003 to 2009.

University Athletic Director Kevin Buisman recalled Zinni bringing the team into winning shape promptly.

“We experienced near immediate success under his leadership and he had significant impact in raising the profile of Maverick’s men’s golf and the caliber of student-athletes interested in playing for him,” Buisman said.

Highlights of Zinni’s golf career included winning the 2005 and 2007 Minnesota State Senior Open and finishing third in the 2002 Toshiba Senior Classic. He was a member of the PGA Board of directors from 1997 to 1999 and served as president of the Minnesota PGA from 1995 to 1996. According to the PGA, Zinni recorded 18 career holes-in-one.

Among his accomplishments as a coach was bringing the Maverick men’s golf team to a 2008-2009 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Championship (team photo above).

“Mike was a great teacher of the game, a wonderful ambassador for the sport throughout southern Minnesota and all across the region,” Buisman said. “We are forever indebted and grateful for his service as head coach.”

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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