Laura Ianello, Derek Radley provide yin yang to Arizona women’s golf

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Kyle Hansen

Arizona women’s golf coach Laura Ianello (right) speaks with spectators during Arizona’s second place finish at the Wildcat Invitational on March 17, 2015 at Sewailo Golf Club.

Saul Bookman

Every successful coach would admit to the necessity of having a staff behind them that helps the team trend in the right directions. Arizona women’s golf head coach Laura Ianello is no stranger to that thought.

Enter assistant coach Derek Radley.

“The important thing about a coaching staff in my opinion is that the two coaches have to be a team for the team,” Ianello said. “You really have to make sure a coaching staff gets along, can work well together, have good communication, and coach Radley and I, we do just that.”

The attitude the two share is infectious, and it is one of the reasons why the Arizona women’s golf program is one of the best in the nation, currently ranked No. 11 nationally according to the Golfstat top 25 polls.

The dynamic between these two coaches that makes them unlike other coaching duos is that there is no good guy, bad guy method to their madness.

You won’t see a Sean Miller-style scolding followed up by a Book Richardson cuddle with them.

Ianello says Radley and her are extremely focused on evening each other out positively.

“Coach Radley is left-brained, I am right-brained and we compliment each other so very well,” Ianello said. “Derek and I, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we can roll with the punches. If we’re not playing well we’re both extremely positive individuals. If one of us is down, we can pump each other up.”

This overall positive approach will be key as the Wildcats embark on the treacherous journey that is the Pac-12 Conference tournament. The tournament began Monday and runs through Wednesday.

The loose style of coaching Ianello and Radley employ will play a big role in the natural tendencies to get tight in key moments of the tournament.

Monday’s start to the end of the conference season will have the Wildcats seeking back-to-back championships at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton, California, one of host California’s regular practice courses.

Ianello also says that Radley brings a valuable dynamic to the program coming from his previous stint as a professional coach with his wife and LPGA tour professional, Sara Brown, for two seasons.

“Coach Derek was her swing instructor and he is a certified PGA instructor … so really its good to have a coach on staff that the girls can go to for techniques and help with that side of golf,” Ianello said.

The balance the two have is a compliment to an already stellar program.

Radley brings the technical approach while Ianello brings the game mentality, as a former professional who played for Arizona herself. For this reason, Ianello believes Arizona offers potential golfers something most other programs can’t.

“I feel like Derek and I together as a team can help any prospective student-athlete come to Arizona and get better because of what both of us have to offer,” Ianello said. “Whether it’s mentally or technically coach Derek and I feel like we are the mom and dad away from their moms and dads — that’s what we always say.”

The yin and yang fabric of this coaching tandem is evident outside of golf, as Ianello says she has given life advice to Radley when he and his wife experienced the birth of their first child.

“I have had two babies in the last two years, so us getting older a little bit and having families has really been a fun experience we have enjoyed together” she said.

A harmonious coaching staff and success to go along with it is a rarity in today’s dog-eat-dog sports world. These two seem to have the right mindset and genuine love for the program they continue to build.


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