Tag Archive | "Golf"

IWU women’s golf hires first coach

Julie Wagner graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Master’s degree in business management in 2006. Six years later, she finds herself back at her old stomping grounds, not chasing a doctorate, but a dream.

The Wildcats’ athletic department hired Wagner to be the women’s golf program’s first head coach in its history, marking the beginning of the 16th intercollegiate sport at IWU. Athletic Director Mark DeMichael said it was Wagner’s love of every aspect of golf that made her the obvious choice for the job.

“It was really her combination of a passion for golf and her passion for teaching golf and having a relationship, you can see the excitement when she talked about it,” DeMichael said. “It was very obvious that her whole energy level excitement level, passion level was at another notch above all our other candidates.”

That enthusiasm in Wagner is evident. Although she is stepping into new territory, she says that she’s eager to learn.

“I think the most exciting part of starting this program is being able to try to pick and come up with some matches that the ladies will be able to play in,” Wagner said. “The recruiting part of it is very exciting and very challenging as well. It’s a whole new process for me to learn and to figure out.”

Golf was a late-blooming hobby for Wagner, who hadn’t even tried the game until she was in her 20s, when her eventual husband Paul introduced her to the fairway. The hobby turned into a successful endeavor, as Wagner has won six tournaments, including two Wildcat Creek Golf Course Invitationals.

Wagner is also a PGA certified golf instructor at Wildcat Creek in Kokomo, Ind., a credential that IWU men’s golf coach Steve Evans said will help the transition to coaching.

“She has gone through the school and has taught many lessons in golf, and I think that’s one of the most important qualities of a college coach,” Evans said. “To be able to recognize swing faults and be able to fix them with some drills and allow the players to play at their best.”

Despite her ability and enthusiasm, even Wagner and DeMichael have modest expectations for the women’s golf team, at least in its first season this fall.

“Goals are really hard to set right now because I don’t have a team yet, and we don’t know what caliber of players I’m going to get,” Wagner said. “But I think for a young team like we’re obviously going to have, I’m going to be really happy when we go and play tournaments if we can finish somewhere in the middle of the tournament.”

“You have to be careful what goals you set for yourself,” DeMichael said. “If you say our goal is, in the first year, to go to the NAIA National Tournament, not to say that’s impossible, but that’s a little unrealistic. The problem is if you set your goals like that, then you run the risk of not taking your time and building a solid foundation in the program.”

DeMichael is sure that Wagner is the right person for the job, and the future looks bright for the program without a past.

“The key at this point, in starting a new team, is you have to build a solid foundation,” DeMichael said. “I have every confidence that she will be able to do that and make this a successful program for years to come.”

Posted in Sports, Women's AthleticsComments (1)

Linksters in full swing

Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, the IWU golf team is looking to capitalize on their experience and depth this fall. After winning five regular season tournaments in ‘09-’10, the Wildcats finished 14th in the NAIA National Championship last May at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

Nevertheless, the Wildcats proved that they belonged with the elite in the country. Although they lost veterans Austin Conroy and Joe Madda to graduation, they return a stead of reliable players. Seniors Kyle Martin and Adlai Deisler have been in the program several years and will be steady leaders for the squad.

Other strong candidates to earn points for the team will be juniors Trey Rohrman and Matt Milholland, who have shown that they can consistently contribute. Letter winner Aaron Cecil (so) will also be an invaluable asset to the roster.

Martin (sr) believes that this group of guys has the consistency it takes to win multiple tournaments this year.

“We all have the potential to do really well, not just the top one or two players,” he said. “You don’t know who is going to have a breakout day.”

With the strong core of upperclassmen, plus the addition of two All State performers Zach Mick (fr) and Zach Kinch (fr), the Wildcats have gained national preseason recognition. On Sept. 10, the Preseason Golf World/ NIKE Golf NAIA Coaches’ Poll ranked IWU 11th in the nation.

Head coach Steve Evans knows that his team has a lot to live up to this season in order to back up all of the hype. Nonetheless, he sees this team having another big year.

“I expect this team to be very competitive this fall and to continue to build on our national ranking,” he said.

The Wildcats completed a disappointing home opener at the IWU Invitational Monday and Tuesday at Meshingomesia Country Club in Marion, Ind. Although they finished 4th out of 10 teams, the eight deep squad is expecting much more throughout the remainder of the fall and spring.

Martin said the team’s main goal is to win the MCC Conference Championship which guarantees a spot in the NAIA National Championship in May. The Wildcats have work to do but they are certainly capable of reaching that milestone.

“I think mentally we need to stay focused late in the round, when the shots really start to count,” Martin said.

IWU will have several opportunities this fall to prove that they are national contenders. They will travel to Kentucky, Florida and finally Illinios where the NAIA Preview Invitational will give a snapshot of what is to come in the spring.

Posted in Men's Athletics, SportsComments (0)

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