Down the Fairway: Great Danes new coach no stranger to the area
University at Albany continues to get more serious about its women’s golf program.
For the second year in a row, the school has turned to the Symetra Tour for a new coach.
After Gina Umeck left following her first season to go back home to California, UAlbany recently hired fellow Symetra Tour veteran Colleen Cashmen-McSween, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native who played collegiately at Purdue.
The former Michigan assistant coach, who played for seven seasons on the Symetra Tour, is no stranger to the Capital Region.
“I played in the Albany area four times, at Western Turnpike, Orchard Creek and at Capital Hills. I never played when the tournament was at Town of Colonie, but I did stay in the Colonie area,” she said. “I’ve been to the Albany area quite a bit, and I know a handful of people really well.”
Cashman-McSween has been looking for a head coaching position for quite a while, and she was kept in the loop about the UAlbany opening by former Symetra Tour publicity director Lisa Mickey, as well as by the former UAlbany coach.
“Gina gave me a heads-up, and Lisa keeps telling me about all the openings she hears about,” Cashman-McSween said. “I was very happy to hear about the opening, and I immediately put my name in when I heard it was official.”
Although Cashman-McSween grew up in Florida and has been coaching in Michigan, she said the Albany area has a lot to offer prospective recruits.
“Not everybody gets to play at the school of their dreams,” she said. “UAlbany has everything you need. There are a lot of great courses to practice at in this area, and the school’s schedule allows the players to do a lot of practicing and playing at some great tournaments. Also, the school is becoming bigger and bigger in athletics. The UAlbany athletic department is making things better all over at the Division I level, and they are definitely going in the right direction. This is only the second year that they’ve had a full-time head coach, and I think you’ll see the difference very soon.”
Cashman-McSween said she recruited all over the country for players when she was an assistant at Michigan.
“I recruited players from Texas and California, and I focused a lot of effort in the South Florida area, because I know that area,” she said. “But now, everything will be more focused on the northeast.”
What does Cashman-McSween look for in prospective players?
“For one, I like players who want to compete on the LPGA Tour some day. That really pushes them to play golf for four years and improve their game,” she said.
“The other thing I’m looking at is that I like an athletic kind of player, one who is very competitive. I like to see someone who has played other sports, like volleyball or softball, and not just golf.”
Cashman-McSween loves the golfing lifestyle, including the travel, but that wasn’t her original plan.
“When I went to Purdue, I was there to become a veterinarian,” she recalled. “The problem was that I was missing many Fridays to play on the golf team. I had an
organic chemistry lab on Fridays that I couldn’t make up. I knew I would never be able to take the class, and I wouldn’t have been able to complete my studies. At that point, I figured that I loved golf enough to try to make it my career.”
Cashman-McSween was a two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection at Purdue, and was a three-time captain. She was a two-time medalist in college events.
Cashman-McSween played on the Symetra Tour (formerly the Futures tour) for seven years, from 1998 to 2004. She won the 2003 Next Generations Futures Tour Championship in Tampa and got as high as 15th on the money list one year. She competed in more than 100 pro events and made the cut in nearly 80 percent of them. She posted nine top-10 finishes.
“I was pretty much an all-around player. My strength was my driving, my ball-striking and my competitiveness,” she said.
Before becoming the Michigan assistant coach, she coached for 12 years at her high school alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas, in Fort Lauderdale.
Cashman-McSween’s Great Danes will compete in five tournaments this fall. UAlbany also plays in the spring.
NEW MAJOR TOURNAMENT
NewsChannel 13 and Colonie Golf & Country Club will sponsor a unique event called the Capital Region Golf Championship Sept. 28.
There will be four tournament divisions: individual gross, individual net, two-man team gross and two-man team net. Championships will be awarded in each division, and the winners will be announced on WNYT and WNYA as the “Capital Region’s Best.”
Entry fee is $60 per player. Carts are not required, but are available for rent in the pro shop. Registration deadline is Sept. 26.
For more information, contact Colonie Golf & Country Club.
- The 41st annual Bryce Hume Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Oct. 6 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Entry fee is $50 and includes golf, cart, lunch and prizes for gross and Calloway net. Gazette employees, retirees and guests are eligible, but employees and retirees will be given first consideration.
Entry deadline is Oct. 1. Entries will be limited to the first 32 players. Tee times begin around 8 a.m. Drop off or mail entries to Bob Weiner, 2345 Maxon Road Ext., P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, NY 12301-1090. Be sure to include the $50 payment, and make checks payable to The Daily Gazette Co.
- Kay McMahon’s eduKaytion Golf at Cranwell Resort will offer two special workshops this month. This Saturday, McMahon will offer a swing workshop from 1-5 p.m. The following Saturday, Sept, 21, also from 1-5 p.m., she will present a short game workshop concentrating on putting, chipping, pitching and sand play. Cost is $139. Call 669-1551 or contact edukaytion.golf.-
com for more information.
- Barb Donnelly, Jane Haney, DiAnne Sanford and Joyce Stefic combined for a 77 to win the Nick Stoner Ladies’ Two-Day Championship in a shamble format. Nina Green, Barb Kucel, Norene Persch and Marga Woltman were second with a 78.
- The Saratoga Springs High School “Streaks Running Club” golf tournament will be held Monday at The Edison Club. For information on the tournament, which helps support the Saratoga cross country program, go to www.firecracker4.-com.
- Scotia-Glenville Lions Club’s 18th annual Falling Leaves Tournament will be held at The Edison Club Sept. 30. All proceeds benefit youth programs in the Scotia-Glenville, Burnt Hills, Ballston Lake and Schenectady areas, including the awarding of college scholarships to outstanding high school grad-uates from the community. Entry fee is $100 per player and includes golf, cart, lunch and dinner. Contact Michael Tobin at 783-3100 for more information.
- The inaugural “Golf with a Mission” tournament, sponsored by Northway Golf Center, will be held at Mohawk Golf Club Sept. 23. Entry fee is $150 per player and includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner and prizes. Proceeds will benefit the City Mission of Schenectady’s new building project. Call Tammy at 346-2275, ext. 310, for more information.
u The Union College Football Dick Roberts Fighting Dutchmen Gridiron Club Tournament will be held Sept. 20 at Mohawk Golf Club. There will be a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. Lunch and dinner will be included. You can sign up online at www.UnionAthletics.com.
Peter Andrikopoulos aced the sixth hole with a 7-iron at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. It was his fifth career ace.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Dan Hotaling of South Cairo aced the 17th hole with a 7-iron. It was his second career hole-in-one.
Tom Christoffel eagled the 12th hole, also at Schenectady Municipal.
A.J. DeStefano used an 8-iron for a hole-in-one on the 95-yard 10th hole at Whispering Pines.
At Schenectady Municipal, Joe Laurenzo posted an eagle-2 on the fourth hole while competing in the Mohawk Valley Golf League, Joe Lazzari eagled the ninth hole and Dave Billman eagled the 12th hole while playing in the Maqua Major league.
Bob Belden eagled the par-5 15th hole at Briar Creek while competing in the Rotterdam Senior Men’s league.