Women's golf hopes new coach can turn program around

BY TORK MASON | AUGUST 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Hawkeye women's golf team will tee off under new leadership this fall.

Megan Menzel was named the team's new head coach on Aug. 8; she spent the past two years at the Denver Country Club as a teaching professional.

When asked what attracted her to Iowa, the Cedar Rapids native said she felt everything lined up perfectly for her.

"I've been eager to get back into college coaching, so the time was just right," she said. "And when it happened to be that the University of Iowa position was open, it just seemed like a really, really good fit."

Menzel, 36, said she was hired somewhat late in the off-season, but Athletics Director Gary Barta said he is hopeful she will have success in Iowa City.

"She has a great track record of going into a program and building it into a contender in a short period of time," he said on Wednesday.

That track record includes stints at Boise State (1998-99), Colorado State (2000-02), and Kansas (2002-04), where Menzel was successful both on and off the course. She recruited the first individual NCAA regional qualifier in Boise State history, led Colorado State to NCAA regional appearances in 2001 and 2002, and recruited the first individual conference champion at Kansas.

Her success has not been limited to the links. At Kansas, she spearheaded an $800,000 fundraising effort to improve the team's facilities and also created the program's booster organization. And at Colorado State, her team performed well in the classroom, leading all the Rams' athletics programs in cumulative grade-point average in 2001.

Three Ram golfers also earned academic all-conference honors under Menzel.

But she could have her work cut out for her in the fall season. Because she was brought aboard so late in the summer, she has not yet been able to work with the team. Several players have played well in off-season tournaments, though.

Junior Kristi Caldwell and senior Chelsea Harris finished fourth at the 2011 Hooters Women's Collegiate Team Championship earlier this month. Menzel said she feels good about her core of returning golfers — four of the seven Hawkeyes on the roster have at least a year of experience — and lauded their leadership.

The coach's transition will be made easier by a short fall season — the Black and Gold are scheduled to participate in four tournaments in September and October.

Menzel and the Hawkeyes will hit the first tee of the season at the Chip-N-Club Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., on Sept. 12. The tournament lasts for two days, with 36 holes on the first day and 18 on the second day.

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