NEW YORK—The Columbia men's golf program announced two new staff appointments as Ben James was promoted to Assistant Men's Golf Coach and Stephen LaRouere CC'13, was named Volunteer Assistant Coach, Director of Golf Rich Mueller announced on Friday.

The newly created Assistant Coach position was made possible through an endowment from Stephen Berkman CC‘62 to the Columbia men's golf program. Not only will James and LaRouere assist student-athletes with on-course golf performance, but the duo will be able to provide advice and assistance to Lions players as they prepare for professional careers and life after golf.

“The addition of both Ben and Stephen will make a tremendous impact on our program and I can't thank Mr. Berkman enough for his generous support,” Mueller said. “Over the past year, Ben has earned the respect of our players with his knowledge of and experience with the game. His one-on-one training sessions have helped our players improve their swing mechanics and on-course game management. Ben's responsibilities will be largely rooted in player development, recruiting, game management and statistics.”

James moves into the newly created Part-Time Assistant position after he served the 2016 year as a Volunteer Assistant Coach. James owns a strong history of golf experience after becoming a fully qualified, Class A PGA professional at the young age of 23. During his time in both amateur and professional golf, James had the opportunity to compete in PGA UK sanctioned events and has served as a coach and golf pro at Piltdown and East Brighton golf clubs in East Sussex, U.K. Born and raised in East Sussex, U.K., James cites watching Mark O'Meara win the U.S. Masters in 1998 as a catalyst for his amateur and professional golfing career. Soon thereafter, James began his PGA training program at Piltdown in 2004 and earned a foundation degree in professional golf in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, U.K.

LaRouere rejoins the Columbia program as its Volunteer Assistant Coach. As a Columbia men's golfer from 2009-13, LaRouere served as a two-year team captain and helped lead the Lions to one of their highest national rankings in school history, an Ivy League team championship in 2009 and an NCAA Tournament berth. After graduating from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 2013, LaRouere was hired at IBM Global Business Services as a Strategy and Analytics Consultant. He currently works as an Associate at the investment firm MHR Fund Management, where his responsibilities include investor relations and marketing. He is also actively involved in giving back to the New York City community through his involvement with the First Tee of Metropolitan New York.

“As a former Columbia golfer, captain and graduate, Stephen LaRouere has walked in our players' shoes,” Mueller said. “Not only has he been a part of an Ivy Championship team but he has also experienced early success in his business career here in New York City. Stephen's main task will be to work in concert with our Enrichment Services team to assist our current players explore career options, connect with Columbia alumni and ultimately apply to great career opportunities while leveraging Columbia's vast network and resources. Additionally, Stephen will work to improve our external communications and social media presence.”

Since taking over the program in 2005, Mueller has guided the Columbia men's golf program to four Ivy League team championships, five NCAA post-season appearances and 25 All-Ivy League golf performances.