Originally created 06/19/03

Augusta State coaching job generates interest



Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant is receiving a steady stream of applications for the women's golf coach position as the July 1 deadline nears.

Bryant said Wednesday the school has received 30 applications for the job. He expects to have a new coach in place by Aug. 1.

"We've gotten off the ground," Bryant said. "Now we need someone to come in and take us to the next level."

Former Lady Jaguars coach Shannon Hanson resigned May 23 to pursue a professional golf career. Hanson was named the first women's golf coach at Augusta State on Sept. 20, 2000. She oversaw the development of the Lady Jaguars' program from the beginning, leading the program through its first season in 2001-02. The Lady Jaguars placed a season-high 10th out of 17 teams in the program's first tournament - the Yale Fall Intercollegiate.

Last season, Augusta State had five top-five finishes, including a season-best, third-place showing at the Lady Razorback Invitational. The Lady Jaguars' team scoring average dropped 30 shots from 2001-02 to 2002-03.

Leah Hart - who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open last week - won three tournaments as a freshman, posted a 73.3 stroke average and was named the Division I All-Independent Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Lauren Smith was named to the All-Independent first team as a sophomore.

"The status of Augusta State women's golf is pretty darn good," Bryant said. "It's a lot better than I thought it'd be at this point in time. I'd venture to say that it is two to three years ahead of schedule."

Augusta State director of golf Josh Gregory will head up the search when he returns from Japan early next week. Gregory is overseas leading Team USA in the World Junior Golf Team Championships.

The new women's golf coach will inherit a team that will be eligible for NCAA Division I postseason play at the end of the 2003-2004 season, having completed a two-year probationary period.

Also, the new coach will help the school organize its first women's collegiate invitational tournament in fall 2004. The event is expected to include 12 to 15 teams, largely from the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, ext. 114.