Building a successful college athletic program from scratch can be a grueling and frustrating experience for any coach brave enough to take the job.
Athletic directors looking for someone to take on such a challenge might want to ask St. Mary’s women’s golf coach Cindy Krause about her strategy for fast success.
In just her third season with the Rattlers last year, Krause led St. Mary’s to its first appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament. St. Mary’s reached that milestone in only its fourth year of competition and first with a full squad.
The Rattlers started the 2003-04 school year ranked No. 10 in the National Golf Coaches Association Division II preseason poll.
“A lot of people ask me how I put it together so quickly and I tell them, ‘There really isn’t any secret,'” said Krause, who was named NGCA Division II West Region Coach of the Year last spring. “I’ve been very lucky with who I’ve recruited and how they panned out.”
The Rattlers won their first tournament of the season Tuesday at the Northeastern State University Fall Classic in Muskogee, Okla., recording a two-day total of 632 (313-319) to edge No. 13 Northeastern State by four strokes.
Sophomore Kate Meyer also took medalist honors.
“I thought I played OK,” Meyer said. “I could’ve played better here and there, but overall I’m happy. The team that was the most competitive for us was Northeastern. They beat us at regionals last year and this was one of their home courses. It felt good to beat them.”
Basketball coach Paige Clawson helped start the St. Mary’s golf program with just one player, recruiting Jillian Wyne from Calgary, Alberta, to compete as a medalist.
Clawson brought in Clark graduate Cathy Carvajal the next year before turning over the program to Krause, who had coached at the junior high level and played junior golf for many years.
“My coach from high school knew coach Clawson,” said Carvajal, who shot a 168 (86-82) at the NSU Classic. “He told her he’s got this girl that won regionals and shot a 71 and she should probably take a look at her.”
Wyne, a two-time All-American and the top Division II scorer during the 2002-03 season, graduated last spring, but not before luring her younger sister Nicole to St. Mary’s and another fellow Canadian, Danielle Trow.
Nicole turned in a 156 (77-79) in Oklahoma to finish second behind Meyer. Trow shot a 165 (81-84).
The Wyne sisters apparently opened a pipeline from Canada.
“I have a unique collection of personalities,” said Krause, who has five Canadians, four Texans and one player from Arizona on the team. “The team chemistry has to be great and I feel we’ve been very lucky with that, because that’s not always the case.”
This year’s freshman class includes Boerne standout Marla Troester, who finished in the top 10 at the NSU Classic despite shooting a 10 on one hole in the first round. Krause also added Elizabeth Brandt (86-76 – 162) of Scottsdale, Ariz., and another Canadian, Liz Reid (89-89 – 178).
Other players on the team include the team’s only senior, Chelsea Siler of Calgary, and sophomores Amy Pearson (Brady) and Jennifer Trow (Beeton, Ontario).