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ND Women’s Golf: Team begins practice without a head coach

Chris Hine | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Practice opens today as the Irish prepare for next month’s Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C. Just one thing is missing – a coach.

The University announced Monday that Irish coach Debby King resigned after five years and The Observer reported last Thursday that she would not be retained.

“All they have told us is that she’s not going to be our coach this year,” said junior golfer Alejandra Diaz-Calderon. “They told us we would have a new coach soon and we would like to get some closure in this.”

A search for a new coach is underway, but Notre Dame is in no hurry to find a replacement.

“They said they don’t want to rush the procedure because they want to find the right person for the job,” said senior Noriko Nakazaki.

Sophomore Lisa Maunu said the team is anxious to hear about its new leader.

“The overall mood of the team is very positive, yet on edge waiting for a new coach,” Maunu said. “It’s been stressful not knowing when or who will be arriving to take over the team.”

In the meantime, assistant coach Kyle Veltri has been in charge.

“Coach Veltri has been amazing. … She has been the backbone of the team,” Diaz-Calderon said. “You can tell she cares about us and about Notre Dame. We would love to have her as our head coach and to stay on no matter what.”

Maunu echoed Diaz-Calderon’s sentiments, saying Veltri has stayed positive since the team first found out two weeks ago that King would not remain as coach.

“[Veltri] has never stopped supporting us and we can count on her for pretty much anything,” Maunu said.

The team will meet today to discuss goals for the upcoming season.

“In the past, Coach King set our goals, but this year Coach Veltri wants us to set our goals,” she said.

Maunu said the team expects to make a deep run in the NCAAs this year.

“I think team expectations for this year are very high in that we would like to make it to [an NCAA regional],” she said. “We will have to work hard and stay composed all year in that we have a very small and young team. But I think freshmen are going to step up and help us complete our goal.”

Under King, Notre Dame achieved steady improvement in scoring each year, culminating last fall with the team posting its lowest scoring average in school history, a 306.88 average. This year’s squad – despite the loss of King – hopes to improve that record.

“We are ready and can’t wait for the season to start,” Diaz-Calderon said. “We’re very happy and excited and ready to start winning.”

The Cougar Classic begins Sept. 11 in Charleston, S.C.