The Utica College Athletic Department and Athletic Director David Fontaine announced on Nov. 18 that women’s golf will be the new intercollegiate sport offered starting in the fall of 2016.
The women’s golf program will be the 26th NCAA Division III intercollegiate sport for UC and will participate in the Empire 8 Conference next fall. The head women’s ice hockey coach, David Clausen, and head men’s soccer coach, Brian Marcantonio will serve as co-coaches for both the men’s and women’s golf teams.
The idea of adding women’s golf to the UC sports family has been an on again and off again topic for a while. But as soon as the right pieces and the timing came together it all worked out in the end.
“We talked about and it was about a six to eight month discussion dating back to last spring,” Fontaine said. “We discussed with the Empire 8 and with UC and thought the timing was right to give women another opportunity and the popularity of golf is on the rise, so we thought it was the right time.”
Clausen began getting involved in the discussion last spring as well, and since then, it seemed as if the process went quick.
“My involvement began last spring and it is something Utica College discussed for next fall ,” Clausen said. “Once we began discussing, the process went quick and it was a good fit.”
Clausen is familiar how college golf works considering he coached the men’s golf team in the early 2000’s. He coached the team for two seasons and it was something he wanted to see grow over the years.
“The goal was to try and build the program up over the past seven to eight years when I stopped coaching,” Clausen said. “It is something that I am stepping back into and excited to be involved.”
Since Clausen is in the middle of the women’s ice hockey season, Marcantonio so far has been focusing on the recruiting process and making sure they get athletes to come to UC. However, as soon as Clausen finishes up the women’s ice hockey season in late February, he is excited to join Marcantonio in the process.
“Ever since the announcement has been made, Coach Marcantonio has really grabbed the bull by the horns in terms of recruiting,” Clausen said. “When the season ends, [women’s ice hockey] I am looking forward to recruiting and getting both the men’s and women’s golf teams started.”
With the amount of golf courses that surround the Mohawk Valley, Clausen believes that getting student athletes to come to UC won’t be as much of a challenge. However, he emphasized that starting something new is always challenge.
“Starting anything new will be a challenge and some sales will have to be made to get golfers to come here,” Clausen said. “But we want golfers to be excited to play here with all the golf courses that surround the Mohawk Valley and several places for them to get better as golfers. “