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Men’s Golf: Coach signs contract extension

Andrew Gastelum | Sunday, February 12, 2012

 

Fresh off a three-month winter break, the Irish will resume their season in Florida sunshine Monday at the Match Play in Orlando with some added assurance about their future.

During the break, Irish coach and 2011 Big East Coach of the Year Jim Kubinski signed a three-year contract extension through the 2013-2014 season. The new deal follows a successful year where the Irish won their third Big East championship under Kubinski’s tutelage. Kubinski said the Irish return this season as favorites for the league title.

“It’s great to be a part of the Notre Dame community for eight years,” Kubinski said. “My wife and kids love living here and being a part of this. The sense of community and dedication to athletics is second to none. [The athletic department] liked the direction we are going and how we have positioned ourselves in the national spotlight.”

But things haven’t fallen exactly in line for the Irish so far this season, Kubinski said. Notre Dame’s early struggles have dropped them to 55th in the latest Golfstat rankings, but Kubinski is confident his team will pull through in the spring.

“We came into the fall season with really high expectations after winning the Big East last year and we started nicely,” Kubinski said. “But those last three tournaments to end the season were pretty tough. We had guys battling some injuries and changing their swings so we feel like we can improve off that.”

Leading the Irish is reigning Big East Player of the Year senior co-captain Max Scodro. According to Kubinski, Scodro broke the Notre Dame record for least amount of strokes in a semester during the fall season. The senior was also invited to play at the Patriot All-America Invitational during the winter break, where he finished tied for 44th among some of the best golfers from every division in the NCAA.

“The way Max is playing, the sky is the limit,” Kubinski said. “He will have the opportunity to turn pro after graduation. And if he can match or better his play from the fall, he will definitely be in the considerations for All-American.”

The Irish will play at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., which will also play host to the Big East championships in late April. The double-elimination tournament features a different set of rules, more focused on individual, one-on-one matchups with members of the opposing team.

“It’s a pretty mixed field with a lot of Big East teams,” Kubinski said. “It’ll be good to get some competition and work on things early in the season.

“We are the No. 1 seed and are expected to win, but crazy things happen in match play so we will have to stay focused and kick off the season with a good start.”

Notre Dame will begin the first round of the Match Play at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. on Monday against Loyola-Chicago.

Contact Andrew Gastelum at agastel1@nd.edu