Union College head women’s basketball coach Mary Ellen Burt will now wear two hats for the Dutchwomen.
Burt, who besides coaching basketball is also one of the top amateur women golfers in the Capital Region, will become the first head coach of the new varsity women’s golf team.
Women’s golf becomes the 26th varsity sport offered by Union. The program will become a member of the Liberty League and a member of NCAA Division III in the fall of 2012.
Also announced was the fact that Mohawk Golf Club, one of the top golf courses in the area, will be the Dutchwomen’s home course.
“Union College is proud to now offer the sport of golf to prospective women’s student athletes,” said Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin. “We look forward to a future that brings quality students into this program, and I am pleased that Mary Ellen can provide them with guidance in the classroom and community as she does so well with our women’s basketball student athletes. Her extensive resume, knowledge and dedication to the sport will bode well as this program develops in the Liberty League and in NCAA Division III.”
McLaughlin also was thrilled to have Mohawk Golf Club on board as the golf team’s home course.
Mohawk already hosts several Union fundraisers in both football and hockey.
“It’s a natural fit,” said McLaughlin. “It was critical to find the right facility, and we are very excited about this venue. It should make recruiting a lot easier.
“Union College athletics has a glorious history, dating back to 1860. So it is very fitting that our home course will be Mohawk Golf Club. This is a prestigious course that also has a magnificent history, and our student athletes and their opponents will enjoy and apprec-iate every round. We appreciate [Mohawk Golf Club] president William Socha and the board of governors at Mohawk Golf Club for their efforts in this community.”
Burt, a 1982 graduate of USC, has a 222-183 record with the Union women’s basketball team and has had winning seasons in 11 of her 12 campaigns. She is also an outstanding golfer who recently won the Northeastern Women’s Golf Association Championship. She finished 20th in the New York Women’s Senior Amateur Championship and teamed with Mary Jo Kelly to win this year’s Capital District Open championship at Ballston Spa Country Club.
Burt also is a former Gazette Women’s Best Ball champ.
“I am excited to start the women’s golf program at Union College this fall,” Burt said. “Starting out as a club team for this year will provide the opportunity to work with players currently on campus and recruit an incoming class to compete in the fall of 2012. Having the Mohawk Golf Club as our home course adds to the thrill as it is one of the premier courses in the area. It has a fantastic practice facility and a first-class overall reputation.
“I have a strong passion for golf, and play on the competitive amateur level. I also have a strong passion for Union College and welcome the opportunity to work with student athletes on their game. It is a lifetime sport that will stay with the students well after they graduate from Union College. The Liberty League already has a number of schools that offer women’s golf, so this will give us an immediate competitive arena.”
Vassar, William Smith and St. Lawrence also offer women’s golf in the Liberty League.
u The College of Saint Rose and Le Moyne College have announced the formation of a new rivalry series called the Upstate Challenge. The two schools will square off in 14 sports in which the schools compete head-to-head in the regular season or during the Northeast-10 Conference playoffs. The winner of the series will be awarded the first “Upstate Challenge” trophy.
u The University at Albany has partnered with GE for the inaugural GE Kids-In-Free Program to provide opportunities for kids 12 and younger to attend UAlbany Division I athletic events, beginning with tonight’s home game against Maine. During the 2011-12 academic year, children 12 and younger will receive a free game ticket when accompanied by an adult.
u The Hartwick College football team includes 17 former Section II players, and a number of them featured prominently in the Hawks’ season-opening 14-11 win at Morrisville State. Senior running back Anthony Casimano (running back, Schuylerville) ran for 156 yards on 28 yards and scored a touchdown behind the blocking of senior offensive lineman Gary Chrys (Niskayuna) and senior tight end Grady Edwards (Stillwater). Freshman kicker Alex Tesoriero (Columbia) added two PATs, while junior wideout Chris Okonski (Niskayuna) caught a 12-yard pass. Sophomore fullback Nick Knauer (Tamarac) ran twice for 10 yards. Freshman defensive lineman Jason Brown (Rensselaer) made eight tackles, and sophomore defensive lineman Joe Seney (Broadalblin-Perth) made several tackles for the Hawks.
u Derek Pitts, a native of Schen-ectady and graduate of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, caught a second-half touchdown pass as part of a four-reception day in Norwich University’s 28-24 loss to Western New England Prep recently.
u Erin McNally (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) picked up her 21st career assist in a 4-0 victory for the Hamilton College field hockey team over Utica.
u University at Albany’s field hockey team is ranked 16th in the latest Kookabura/National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll. Skidmore’s field hockey team is ranked fifth among Division III programs.
u The Union College women’s soccer team climbed to 15th in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire
Division III national poll, while the men’s soccer team made its season debut in the national rankings at No. 22.
u Gordon Graham is the new head women’s tennis coach at the University at Albany. Graham has nearly three decades of collegiate coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level, including 17 seasons as the head coach at Harvard, where he guided the Crimson to nine Ivy league championships and the NCAA tournament’s Round of 16 in 2003 and 2005. Graham had a 239-152 dual-match record for a .611 winning percentage. He was voted the Intercollegiate Tennis Association East Region Coach of the Year in 2003. He also coached at the University of the Pacific from 1978 to 1990.
u Kyle Meyer has been named a full-time assistant baseball coach at RPI. The Columbia High School graduate played second base, shortstop, third base and outfield for Marist, where he was a team captain for two years.
u Jon Clair has been named an assistant men’s tennis coach at RPI. Clair is a former University of Mary Washington standout who was a four-time All-Conference first-team selection for the Eagles. The Slingerlands native spent the last two years as a tennis professional at the Tri-City Fitness and Tennis Club in Latham.
u Allie Astolfi has been named an assistant track and field coach at RPI. The Middlebury College graduate competed primarily in the hurdles and horizontal jumps. She was sixth overall in the long jump at the 2011 NESCAC Championships.
u Hartwick’s men’s basketball team was listed as a possible breakthrough team in The Sporting News Magazine college basketball preview issue.