Watkins steps down as Women's Golf coach
AUSTIN, Texas -- Susan Watkins resigned Tuesday after 14 years at the helm of The University of Texas women's golf team. UT Women's Athletics Director Christine Plonsky said a search committee will be formed to find Watkins' replacement.
"It has been a great ride," Watkins said. "We experienced some exciting times at Texas. We accomplished a lot of wonderful things, but we set some high standards and expectations. Our ultimate goal was to win a National Championship. This is a team sport and our mission was to get it done, but it just didn't pan out."
The Longhorns failed to make it to the 63-team NCAA Regional Championships this year and have not played in the NCAA's final championship round of 24 since 2004.
"The UT women's golf program has only had two coaches in its history -- Pat Weis and Susan Watkins," Plonsky said. "Susan has given us 14 years of tremendous effort. I appreciate that our program is in good shape, and, with a change in leadership, we will continue our tradition of success. Our state-of-the-art facilities wouldn't be what we have today without a lot of hard work and dedication to Texas Golf. Susan has been a part of that hard work and effort."
"The current team is young, yet very good," Watkins said. "They need a new direction -- a fresh start. My heart doesn't want to leave anything behind, but my head knows it's time for a change. Mutually, this is a good decision for all. It's time for new leadership at Texas."
Watkins led Texas to 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including top-six finishes at five out of the last seven NCAA Championships. This included one second-place finish (2002) and three third-place finishes (2000, 2001, 2003).
Her Texas teams registered seven consecutive top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships from 1998-2004; UT also tied for sixth in 2004, ninth in 1999 and placed 10th in 1998.
The Longhorns placed in the top 10 in five of nine events during the 2007 season, headed by a tie for fifth place at UT's Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in March. UT closed out the season with a 10th-place finish at the Big 12 Championship.
"Everyone associated with the team -- from the student-athletes to the staff, administration and boosters -- were incredible," Watkins said. "Their friendship and support will remain forever."
In addition, Watkins mentored seven All-Americans, including Heather Bowie, a four-time All-American who became UT's second NCAA individual champion in 1997 and won the Honda Broderick Award as the National Collegiate Golfer of the Year.
Six of Watkins' former student-athletes currently play on professional golf tours: Bowie (1995-97), Kristin Dufour (1998-2001), Kelli Kuehne (1996-97), Janice Olivencia (2000-04), Randi Meadows (1998-2001) and Jessica Reese (1999-2003).
Watkins' teams captured five conference titles, including the last three Southwest Conference Championships from 1994-96 and Big 12 Championships in 1997 and 2004. Texas placed in the top four at the Big 12 Championships from 1998-2005.
Three student-athletes claimed conference titles under Watkins' tutelage, and 24 student-athletes garnered 29 all-conference honors. Notably, her Longhorns collected 35 academic all-conference selections and one academic All-America honor (Bowie).
Texas finished the 2006 season by placing 11th at the NCAA Central Regional Championship, falling nine strokes shy of earning a trip to the NCAA Championship. The Longhorns finished among the top 10 on three times out of 10 tournaments, including a third-place finish at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic.
A two-time Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year, Watkins played golf at Texas from 1979-81. She began her coaching career during the 1981-82 season as a graduate assistant for former UT women's golf coach Weis while also receiving guidance from former UT men's golf coach Harvey Penick.
She was hired as an assistant professional at the Austin Country Club in 1981 and continued in that position until 1985, when she left for the Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.
Watkins left Bent Tree in 1990 to become an instructor at the John Jacobs Golf School in Scottsdale, Ariz. Throughout her time at Bent Tree, she served as a teaching professional at the Palm Valley Country Club in Palm Desert, Calif., and at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Englewood, Colo., before becoming the head coach at Texas in 1993.
"I will always be passionate about what I do and about The University of Texas," Watkins said. "I do plan to stay connected to the golf world, either in a teaching or coaching capacity."
Watkins' future interests include training the "complete player," which includes implementing course management, work ethic and fitness for golf. She also plans to finish a book she is writing.
THE SUSAN WATKINS FILE
RECORDS & ACHIEVEMENTS AT TEXAS