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ND Women’s Golf: King not retained after five years as head coach

Ken Fowler | Thursday, August 24, 2006

There will be a new Irish leader this fall.

Notre Dame declined to renew the contract of head coach Debby King after five years, and a search for her replacement is underway, Assistant Sports Information Director Sean Carroll confirmed to The Observer Wednesday.

Carroll declined to comment on specific reasons behind the move, directing questions to Assistant Athletic Director Jim Fraleigh,

The Observer was unable to contact Fraleigh Wednesday night.

Assistant coach Kyle Veltri is still with the team, which begins official practice Aug. 29. Veltri declined to comment on the coaching situation.

“I think the main thing we’re focusing on right now is to maintain the enthusiasm and be as confident as we can be,” she said.

Junior golfer Alejandra Diaz-Calderon also declined to comment on the specifics of the decision, saying she had not received official word of the athletic department’s decision.

“The administration hasn’t told the team any details why Coach King wasn’t returned,” Diaz-Calderon said.

She said she, senior Noriko Nakazaki and sophomore Lisa Maunu – three of the team’s returning players – would be involved in the interview process of a new coach.

She said she hoped the new coach will have trust in the system, saying she wanted “someone that believes in this place and this team.”

Diaz-Calderon said she believes the team can overcome any distraction from the coaching change and get ready for its season-opening tournament Sept. 10.

“We’ve been practicing on our own [and] we’re very excited for the start of the season,” she said.

Veltri echoed those sentiments.

“They’re ready to go. They’re excited about the season,” she said. “They’ve all played impressive summer seasons.”

King coached the team since the fall of 2001. In her first year, the team earned three top-four finishes. A year later, the team’s stroke average fell from 323.59 to 316.29 – sixth best in school history at the time.

The King era took off in the fall of 2003, when the Irish matched a school record with three tournament wins.

The squad then made the NCAA regional tournament that spring – the first of two consecutive spring appearances.

Notre Dame made its first appearance in Golfstat.com’s top-25 in October 2004 thanks to a come-from-behind victory at the rain-shortened Jeannine McHaney Invitational/Central Regional Preview in Lubbock, Texas.

The team continued its success in the fall of 2005, posting the school’s best-ever scoring average of 301.71. The low scores led to four top-fours in the team’s first five tournaments.