A native of St. George, Utah, Bruce Heppler attended Dixie High School before a brief collegiate golf stint in 1979 at Dixie Junior College, where he received an Associate degree in arts and sciences in 1982. In 1985, Heppler earned his Bachelors degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, and in 1988, his Masters degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts.
While earning his Masters degree at Massachusetts, Heppler began his coaching career as the men’s and women’s golf coach at nearby Amherst College in 1987. A year after graduating, he joined the staff at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) as assistant men’s golf coach (1989-91). Two years later he would make the move to Oklahoma State University as assistant men’s and women’s golf coach, where he would stay for five years (1991-95). In 1995, he moved to Atlanta with the opportunity to become the head men’s golf coach at Georgia Tech, where he has led the program to record-breaking heights ever since.
While at Georgia Tech, Heppler has guided the program to an NCAA Regional every year it has been played since 1998, including 18 of those teams advancing to the NCAA Finals. Since 2000, Georgia Tech has finished outside the top 10 in national polls only four times. During his tenure, the Yellow Jackets have won or shared 13 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) titles, while capturing or sharing 64 team titles overall.
Heppler has annually recruited and developed talented players from across the globe. The program has had at least two All-ACC honorees in 19 of the last 23 seasons and have had four members of the team honored four times. Three of Heppler’s players have earned national player of the year honors, including Matt Kuchar, Bryce Molder and Troy Matteson. In addition, three former players – Kuchar in 1997, Andy Ogletree in 2019 and Tyler Strafaci in 2020 – have won the U.S. Amateur Championship. With Ogletree’s and Strafaci’s victories in 2019 and 2020, Georgia Tech became the first school to have teammates win the national title in back-to-back years.
In 2002, Heppler led his squad to the best season in school history as the Yellow Jackets won a record seven team titles and finished runner-up at the NCAA Championship. That year, Matteson became the third Georgia Tech player to win an individual national title.
Heppler has been recognized for his leadership many times over the years. Among the honors include the ACC Coach of the Year 10 times, more than any other ACC coach in conference history, as well as the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) National Coach of the Year in 2002. He was named a Georgia Tech Honorary Alumnus in 2018.