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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s golf coach to meet former boss

    Shelly Haywood
    Shelly Haywood

    New UA women’s golf head coach Shelly Haywood will be in a unique position this weekend. After three years under the guidance of former coach Greg Allen, Haywood’s first tournament pits her against her mentor.

    “”It’s really not a big deal,”” Haywood said. “”Deep down, there might be a little extra nudge (to do well), but I’m not worried about that.””

    Allen left the Wildcats after seven years to take the head-coaching job at Vanderbilt in Tennessee, only 90 miles from his hometown of Beechmont, Ky.

    Allen said it was the hardest decision he has ever had to make, but that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to the place where he and his wife has so

    many connections.

    Still, Allen remained confident in the direction of “”one of the country’s premier programs,”” Arizona, is heading.

    “”The team is in great hands with (Haywood),”” Allen said. “”I always pick an assistant who I think can make a great head coach some day, if that’s what they want to do.””

    Haywood, who said her coaching style differs from Allen’s, embraces her new role as head coach and also thinks this could be a special year for the Wildcats.

    “”We have high expectations this year,”” Haywood said. “”Golf Week Magazine has us ranked No. 9, and, honestly, I feel it’s a little low. We’ve got to get out there and prove it with our play.””

    Haywood, a New Mexico State graduate with a degree in professional golf management, said she is ready to take the team to the next level this year.

    “”(Arizona) has always been a top program, and these ladies really believe in themselves,””

    I don’t want my assistants to be pencil-pushers. I think of it as a 3-to-5-year job for me to train my
    assistant to get them ready to succeed at their dream job if it ever becomes available to them.

    – Greg Allen,
    former UA women’s golf head coach

    Haywood said. “”I don’t feel overwhelmed at all. I got a lot of good experience with Greg.

    “”He let me do things a lot of other assistant coaches probably don’t get to do.””

    Added Allen: “”I don’t want my assistants to be pencil-pushers. I think of it as a 3-to-5-year job for me to train my assistant to get them ready to succeed at their dream job if it ever becomes available to them.””

    Haywood, who has previously called UA women’s golf a dynasty, was strongly recommended by Allen to fill his vacancy.

    “”The experience I gained from him was invaluable,”” Haywood said. “”I don’t think I could do what I’m doing now without Greg’s help.””

    Despite Allen’s close connection to the team, neither Haywood nor Allen foresee any hiccups in the transition process, even if the weekend brings back a few old memories.

    “”I’m definitely going to be a little emotional this weekend,”” Allen said. “”Last year (the team) had a great year, and I really thought that this would be the year.””

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