Kolton Lapa Hired As Mississippi State Assistant Coach
Published 2:25 pm Monday, June 13, 2022
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State head men’s golf coach Dusty Smith is pleased to announce the hiring of Kolton Lapa as the Bulldogs’ new assistant coach.
A member of the PGA Tour Canada with caddying experience on that circuit and the Web.com Tour, Lapa brings a wealth of knowledge to Starkville. He previously coached the women’s teams at Nebraska and Denver where he helped both programs set single-season school records for team stroke average and claim team tournament titles.
“I am so excited to welcome Kolton to Mississippi State and our golf program,” Smith said. “He is going to be a great coach for our guys. His experience as a player and a coach will be very beneficial for our team. Kolton is a high achiever and his desire to make others better will be contagious within our program.”
Most recently, Lapa served as the associate head coach at Nebraska. He helped the Huskers to a school-record team stroke average (298.96) in 2018-19 and three top-five finished including Nebraska’s first team tournament title since the 2013-14 campaign at the 2019 Westbrook Spring Invitational.
Lapa helped Kate Smith post the best individual stroke average in school history (73.52), while Vanessa Bouvet (3rd), Kirsten Baete (T-6th) and Megan Whittaker (11th) all posted some of the best season stroke averages by freshmen in school history that year. Lapa walked alongside Baete for all 18 holes of her then-career-low round (66).
In Lincoln, he was the team’s lead recruiter and secured commitments from a pair of international Top 1000 WAGR players.
Prior to his time in Nebraska, Lapa spent two seasons as the assistant coach for the women’s team at Denver. In 2017, the Pioneers won the Summit League title, and they finished as runners-up in 2018. In both seasons, Denver qualified for NCAA Regional play. In just two seasons at Denver, Lapa helped coach Pioneer golfers to seven All-Summit League honors, including four first-team awards and saw Denver set a school record for team stroke average at 296.06 in 2017-18.
From September to November 2017, Lapa stepped in as Denver’s interim head coach. Under his guidance, the Pioneers won the GolfWeek Invitational and the Ron Moore Invitational. They also opened the season by defeating four top-25 teams at the Dick McGuire Invitational before finishing fourth at the Maryb S. Kauth Invitational in San Antonio. The Pioneers climbed as high as No. 18 under his leadership.
On the recruiting front, Lapa assisted in the signing of a Minnesota High School state champion and a transfer who earned All-Summit League honors in her first season at DU. Denver’s 2018-19 freshman class included a pair of California golfers ranked among the top 50 nationally in the GolfWeek recruiting rankings.
He competes on the PGA Tour Canada and has also served as a caddy on the PGA Tour Canada and Web.com Tour. He won the Westminster Open and the SwingThought Tour in 2021 and has played in two Korn Ferry Tour events.
Lapa played his collegiate golf at Nebraska for one season before returning to his home state as a transfer to Arizona. He closed his career in 2015-16 with four top-20 finishes including a pair of top-10 performances on his way to a 74.81 stroke average for the Wildcats. Lapa was a team captain at Arizona as a junior and senior and was also a member of Arizona’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2015-16.
He was chosen to play in the PGA Tour Northern Trust Collegiate Challenge, representing Arizona while partnering with PGA Tour player Ricky Barnes. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona in 2016 after majoring in economy and industry.
Lapa replaces Steven Paine, who accepted the head coach position at Augusta earlier this month. He joins his wife Lauren Whyte, the Bulldog women’s assistant coach, in Starkville. The two were married in December 2021.