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MEN’S GOLF: Kubinski expects success from talented senior foursome

Bobby Griffin | Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Senior leadership.

It’s that important.

Teams look to seniors for guidance, examples and lessons, and not every upperclassman always adjusts to that role.

But because the Irish have four seniors who not only have been on the team together for the last three years, but also have all been playing for those three years, the task of leading by example is that much easier.

“Because they started playing as freshmen together and were in the lineup a lot since freshman [year], they’ve been seniors for a long time,” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.

Eric Deutsch, Tommy Balderston, Mark Baldwin and Scott Gustafson are all returning for their final season as Notre Dame teammates, and Kubinski couldn’t be happier about the strides they have made thus far.

“They are not selfish in the least bit; they’re just very team-oriented,” Kubinski said.

Deutsch had a busy summer competing in the U.S. Amateur with younger teammates Cole Isban and Eddie Peckels. He was also a 2004 Big East Conference selection.

Balderston is the only member of the Irish to earn all-Big East selections twice, accomplishing that as a freshman and sophomore.

Baldwin and Gustafson were also all Big-East selections as freshmen.

Despite their individual achievements, Kubinski feels that all four players are the definition of team players – another thing they have proven over the last three years.

“They’ve kind of put their own individual aspirations aside and in some cases made some sacrifices,” Kubinski said.

The second-year coach, who played at Springfield College, commented on how smooth a transition Deutsch, Balderston, Baldwin and Gustafson made while dealing with what comes along with having a new system in place.

“It’s been strange for them in a way just having a new coach,” Kubinski said. “I think they’ve done a fantastic job just adjusting to a new program.

“Just the support that they’ve shown me as a coach and the work ethic that they’ve shown the younger guys, they’re committed to the team aspect.”

Notre Dame travels to the Gopher Invitational this weekend in Wayzata, Minn., and with them they will bring three of the four seniors who comprise this year’s roster.

Deutsch, Gustafson and Baldwin will compete for the Irish this weekend, along with the junior Isban and sophomore Mike King.

Even though Balderston is not traveling with the team to this event, Kubinski said he is just as instrumental as the other three seniors in terms of his leadership and dedication to the team.

It is clear that Kubinski has high aspirations for this year’s team.

“I think we have a chance to be a top-20 team this year if things go well for us,” Kubinski said.

And with the leadership of Deutsch, Balderston, Baldwin and Gustafson, that goal will be that much easier.