September 10, 2004|
Bennett To Retire as SIUE Women’s Golf Coach
Larry Bennett, who has led the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women’s golf program since its beginning in 1998, will retire as the team’s head coach effective at the end of the fall season.
Bennett said after deep reflection over the past year that he felt he had other goals and challenge he wanted to pursue and that the program was well set up to make a successful transition for a new coach.
“It’s difficult to step down since it’s the program I started,” said Bennett. “We’ve built it up from nothing to a top 20 NCAA Division II program.”
SIUE Athletics Director Brad Hewitt said a search would begin this fall to find Bennett’s successor.
“Larry has done a fantastic job with the program by providing a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. He has left the program as such that the next coach should not only be able to continue the team’s success but also take it to another level,” Hewitt said.
Bennett coached the Cougars to its first Great Lakes Valley Conference title in 2003 with an impressive 17-stroke victory. The Cougars have been to the NCAA East Regional Tournament in each of the last two seasons as a team. Three seasons ago, Katie Farrell became SIUE’s first participant in a women’s golf NCAA Tournament when she qualified as an individual.
“I want to thank the community and especially the golfing community because without their support we would not have been able to have this much success,” said Bennett. “I also want to thank the athletic department and Brad for this opportunity.”
Bennett will coach the Cougars through the fall season and will continue to stay at SIUE. He also serves as an Assistant Director in Campus Recreation at SIUE. SIUE has a home tournament on Sunday and Monday at Fox Creek Golf Club.
The Cougars come into the 2004 season with a very young yet talented team. The roster includes 2003 GLVC Freshman of the Year Kallie Harrison (Decatur), who set the SIUE record for lowest single-season scoring average at 79.9. Junior Brittany Hood (Coulterville) is the veteran on the team, who posted an 84.5 scoring average last season. SIUE boasts four talented freshman in Natalie Connaway (McLeansboro), Kelly Morris (Normal), Rachel Roberg (Rice Lake, Wis.) and Jessica Tiffe (Brookfield, Wis.) -siue cougars-