Story courtesy of Akron athletic media relations
AKRON ? University of Akron director of athletics Mack Rhoades announced today (June 4) the department will add women’s golf as its 19th athletic program for the 2008-09 season. A national search for a head coach will begin immediately, with that person expected to be hired this July.
While the program will not compete in the 2007-08 season, the new coach will use the upcoming year to recruit a squad, organize a schedule and begin the daily operations of the office.
“We are excited to add women’s golf to our athletics family,” Rhoades said. “There were several primary factors guiding our decision to add women’s golf versus other sports programs. The biggest of which was the Mid-American Conference already has eight schools competing in women’s golf and the league champion automatically receives a bid to the NCAA Championships. Also, we have a state-of-the-art practice facility in place and feel we will have access to an outstanding home course as the area has a number of reputable clubs. As a result, we believe we can become competitive in the conference sooner rather than later.
“As for the timing of hiring a coach this summer, July and August are key recruiting months for those that will make up the program’s first squad.”
Akron has proven the pieces are in place to be successful in golf. After the completion of the on-campus practice facility, located in the Athletics Field House, the Zips’ men’s program has shown marked improvement. With use of the facility for only a few months prior to the 2005 spring season, Akron shaved 1.5 strokes off its fall average. Also, since the completion of the indoor facility, the Zips’ average strokes per round has dropped from 76.07 in 2004-05, to 75.26 in ’05-06 and 73.71 this past year.
For 2006-07, first-year men’s head coach Tom Porten led the Zips to their most successful season in school history. Akron, which led through 54 holes at this year’s MAC Championship, finished runner-up and just three strokes short of the title. The Zips’ previous best appearances at the MAC Championships included a fourth-place showing in 1998 and a fifth-place finish in 1993. Individually, Akron had three golfers place in the top 10, including runner-up Brad Wright. Wright and Ryan Culbertson were named to the MAC All-Tournament Team, while Wright, Blake Sattler and Colin Clemente earned All-MAC honors. For the year, the Zips won four tournaments, had three runner-up finishes and a total of 11 top-five finishes in 14 events.