NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Penn State New Kensington golf will enter into a new era under the leadership of new head coach, Mark Valko. Valko brings with him extensive experience in coaching and instruction along with a desire to build a solid golf program.
"I'm really excited and enthused about the opportunity presented to me," said Valko. "I am truly honored. Hopefully the knowledge that I have had in my 40 years of golf will help me to make the PSNK golf program even better."
Valko's experience includes instructing at several local golf courses. Valko currently instructs at McDain's Golf Center in Monroeville. Previously, he held the head golf instructor position at Maple Crest Golf Course for over fourteen years where he also facilitated The First Tee programs as a Certified First Tee Instructor. His passion for coaching began in 1997 as he coached the Woodland Hills High School golf team for 10 years. He is thrilled to begin using his experience and knowledge to coach at the next level.
"I am extremely pleased to have Mark as a part of our athletic program," said Megan Bratkovich, director of athletics. "Mark sees a vision for the future of our golf program that includes expansion of the women's side and establishment of a spring season. His knowledge and personality will surely create a strong rapport with our student-athletes and prospective student-athletes."
Valko's goals for the program are "to make sure that every student on the team has fun, improves their golf skills, and attains all of their academic goals in their time at PSNK." He wants the students to soak in their time at Penn State New Kensington and get all they can from the college experience. "Enjoy the ride because time flies by."
Coach Valko and wife Janine reside in North Huntingdon. Mark and Janine have four grown children between them, Scott, Alexis, Jenna, and Nicholas.
Penn State New Kensington Golf's home course is the Links at Spring Church in Apollo. Valko and his team will host a seven-team event there on September 18th with a shotgun start at noon.