Q&A with Martha Richards
We know it has been a busy first month for you as the Texas women's golf head coach. Talk about your first month on the job. I arrived in Austin on June 12, and on that first night, I left Austin right away to go recruiting! We've had some strong interest from the class of 2008. We're working hard on laying the groundwork for the younger classes as well, but our focus right now is the class of 2008 and getting a couple of top-notch golfers out of that class. Then, we'll turn our attention to the class of 2009.
Another important item of business was hiring an assistant coach. I was fortunate to have Tracy Parsons, my assistant at Vanderbilt, join me here at Texas. It has been a smooth transition, and we have a great system in place already. I already bought a house here in Austin, and now I just need to sell my house in Nashville. But, the first month here has mostly involved recruiting.
Having led Vanderbilt to a pair of top-six finishes in the last four seasons, it is clear you have a formula for success. What do you plan to do in the coming months to maintain UT's standing as one of the elite programs in the country? The big thing for our Texas student-athletes is for them to ask more of themselves. As a coach, my mantra has always been, 'When I recruit you, you get all of me, and all of (assistant coach) Tracy Parsons.' We'll be there to do everything we can to help these ladies accomplish their goals. We'll ask them to ask more of themselves, stretch themselves, be open-minded and learn new ways of doing things.
With this group, we will take a more structured approach. We will have some structured practices, but we will also let them play and work on the areas where they feel they need extra attention. The big thing for our current players is to bring them together and understand we need to step it up. UT women's golf has a proud tradition, and we need to get more out of the talent that is here.
We want to see if we can get a little better every day, and as long as we are doing that, then we will be heading in the right direction. Additionally, to add to that momentum, we've got to sign players who will help us get better every day.
Talk a little about your recruiting strategy. Do you plan to focus solely on talent in the state of Texas, or will you look elsewhere for prospective student-athletes? Our primary focus will be recruiting within the state of Texas, as this state turns out very, very good players. But, we will look nationwide and we will look internationally. The bottom line is that we will look for the very best players. UT can attract the best in the state, the nation and the world, and that's what it will take to be a national championship contender, year in and year out. Texas is such an amazing place and our University can attract student-athletes from all over the world.
(Assistant coach) Tracy and I really like to recruit -- it's very energizing! UT is a place that oozes excellence and will be attractive to a lot of potential Longhorns. The commitment from our coaches, our athletics department and The University as a whole make this a pretty tough place to beat.
Finally, what should Texas fans and alumni expect from the Texas women's golf team in the coming seasons? We will have a group of classy young women who will walk tall and walk with a lot of pride. We will carry ourselves in a first-class manner, take care of business in the classroom and we will let our sticks (golf clubs) do our talking. We might be the (former Detroit Lions running back) Barry Sanders of women's golf -- we won't have to do any end zone dances to celebrate ourselves. I just want to let our sticks do the talking!
The way we treat people is critical, and we will do it with class and grace. That said, we also want this to be a really competitive group. I want players who aren't afraid to say they want to win. You can't be afraid to risk being great. Those are the student-athletes we need to have here, with that kind of mentality, or we risk being mediocre. We must ask every one of them to commit to excellence. Those are the players we're going to get.