As a college golf coach for nearly a quarter-century, Frank Darby has refined the art of getting people to listen and buy into what he is saying. He has discovered that those same skills are perfect for his side job as a satellite radio host, where the recruiting involves getting blue-chip guests.
He still can land a big one, too. On the eve of the Masters last month, his SiriusXM show “On Course” featured an exclusive interview with Dustin Johnson’s trainer, who detailed how the world’s No. 1 player slipped, fell and injured his back.
“Keegan Bradley works out with Dustin,” Darby said, referring to the most famous recruit in his 21 years as St. John’s coach, a player who won the 2011 PGA Championship. Bradley, whose loyalty to Darby shone when he took the Red Storm logo off his golf bag after the coach was fired, put Darby in touch with trainer Joey Diovisalvi. The latter gave details that no one else had heard about the mishap that ultimately knocked the favorite out of the tournament.
“Of course, when Joey D came on, we only had to ask him one question and he talked for 11 minutes straight,” the host said.
Finding interesting people and talking about golf are natural pursuits for Darby, who now coaches at Manhattan College and is tournament operations director for the Metropolitan PGA’s events. He looks forward to every Wednesday night between 8 and 9, when he appears on the PGA Tour Radio channel with co-host Brian Crowell, a Met section pro, and regular contributor Andrew Magee, a former PGA Tour player.
“We usually don’t get scoops. But I tell you what, it’s really, really cool. We’ve never had anybody say they don’t want to be on the show,” Darby said this week as he was supervising the Long Island PGA Championship at Seawane. “We had Lacey Underall (actress Cindy Morgan) from ‘Caddyshack,’ so we try to compete.”
He was especially looking forward to Wednesday night because of scheduled guest Ralph Terry, the former Yankee who became a golf pro. It was Terry who gave 16-year-old Darby his first golf lesson. The teenager fell in love with the game and has been in it for the past 43 years.
Darby played for St. John’s and ultimately became a head pro, 12 years at Nissequogue and two at Colonial Springs. “Then the St. John’s job came along,” he said of a position that ended in controversy. Bradley and other former players were vocally upset when Darby was let go by an athletic director who has since been dismissed.
“I definitely had a few issues, but I’m going to go on. I don’t want to be mad at people. I don’t want to keep people in my head,” Darby said.
Manhattan’s program does not have the national footprint or the prospective pros that the Red Storm’s does, but he nonetheless enjoys it. Coaching is coaching. In fact, it led to the radio gig. A SiriusXM executive wanted to do college golf programming and approached him.
“I did a couple of demos and it went really, really well. But college golf is not something you can talk about year-round,” he said. So, Darby recruited Crowell, an experienced TV commentator, and off they went for a more diverse show that has run 75 weeks.
Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and chief content officer, said, “Frank is the guy in your foursome who will keep you laughing through 18 holes and in the clubhouse after the round. That personality shines through on the air.”
Darby remains busy off the air. In setting up courses for the New York State Open and other Met PGA tournaments, he likes the layouts challenging but not punishing. “I want to make these guys look good,” he said.
These days, he also wants to make golf people sound good.
The 48th annual Alex G. Proios Memorial Golf Classic, benefiting the Long Island Charities Foundation, will be May 15 at Huntington Crescent Club. Honoree will be Dr. Keith Durante. Visit licharitiesfoundation.com . . . Temple Israel of Riverhead will hold its golf outing at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton on May 23. Call 631-653-3985.
Jerry Wood, Garden City Golf Club, second hole, 148 yards, 6-iron
John McGrady, Harbor Links GC Executive, third hole (par 4), 254 yards, driver
Bob Marra, Rock Hill G&CC, seventh hole, 143 yards, 7-wood
Richard Porcelli, Spring Lake GC Thunderbird, third hole, 158 yards, 4-iron
Bob Martin (of Rockville Centre), Verandah GC, Fort Myers, Fla., 14th hole, 150 yards, 6-iron
John Fargnoli, Timber Point Red, fifth hole, 174 yards, 4-hybrid
Robert Murphy, Timber Point Red, second hole, 165 yards, 4-iron
Charlie Miller, Poxabogue GC, seventh hole, 72 yards, pitching wedge
Alan Becker, Middle Island CC Dogwood, fifth hole, 144 yards, 8-iron
Bill Chapman, Eisenhower Blue, 17th hole, 123 yards, 8-iron