HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State Community College will add a women’s golf team beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, announced Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics this week.
“We certainly have an outstanding and championship-caliber men’s golf team at Wallace State, and I felt the time was right to add a women’s golf team to complement the men’s team. Golf is a lifelong sport and I’m excited we can include those kind of sports in our repertoire of athletics at Wallace State,” Karolewics said. “Speaking from a female’s perspective, women’s involvement in athletics is very important to me. You can look at the history of our women’s teams at Wallace State and see that we have a two-time national championship softball team, a volleyball team that makes the national tournament each year and a women’s basketball team that has won a number of state championships. Our women’s teams are not only outstanding athletically, but academically.”
Like the Wallace State men’s program, the women’s team will compete during both the fall and spring seasons and be coached by Dan York.
Wallace State’s men’s golf team has enjoyed perennial success under York, who has led the program since 1987. He has guided the men to 19 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament appearances and finished national runner-up on three occasions, including in May 2014. The Lions previously finished national runner-up in 1993 and 1996.
Wallace State’s men, the defending conference champions, have also won 11 conference titles under York, who was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2010.
York is eager to pilot the women’s golf program.
“I’m really looking forward to this tremendous opportunity. We are fortunate at Wallace State to have a president and administrative staff that supports athletics, and I’m so thankful for that. There are a lot of young ladies in the area who haven’t had an opportunity to play golf in college because some of them simply got overlooked. If they don’t get signed to a four-year college, they are out of luck,” said York, a Cullman native. “We’re now going to give them the opportunity to not only continue their education, but to play in some tournaments and hopefully be seen by these four-year colleges in order to earn an additional scholarship.”
With the men’s golf program, York has coached eventual PGA Tour professionals Brett Wetterich and Fredrick Jacobsen at Wallace State, along with country music star Kip Moore.
“There may be a fairytale story out there for a young woman we may recruit. We were the only school to offer a scholarship to Brett Wetterich and the rest is history. He won on the PGA Tour and was a Ryder Cup member,” York said.
Women’s golf will become the eighth Wallace State sport to offer scholarships to potential student athletes, joining baseball, softball, men and women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s golf and cheerleading.
Wallace State’s men’s golf, which recently finished the fall season ranked second in the nation, competes against Central Alabama Community College and Faulkner State within the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC). The team’s District tournament includes squads from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
“Women’s golf has come a long way the last several years, and there is a lot of talent in this area. There are high school teams in north Alabama who have won state championships within the last few years. Women’s golf is becoming more and more popular at the collegiate level. I feel it’s the perfect time to start a program like this,” said Wallace State Director of Athletics Paul Bailey. “This is going to be a huge benefit not just for us as an athletic department, but for our college as a whole. We just think it’s a great opportunity to start it, and be successful at it.”
Added York: “We’ve had men’s golf at Wallace State for a number of years and up until the last two or three years there weren’t enough young women playing to justify starting a program. We feel that has now changed and we are going to be leaders in women’s golf. That’s not unusual for Wallace State. It’s our chance to support the dreams many women have of playing golf.”
Wallace State athletics has won seven NJCAA national championships, winning two in softball, two apiece in men’s and women’s tennis and one in men’s track and field.
The men’s golf program has produced the last two NJCAA Division I individual national champions. Aksel Olsen became the program’s first individual champ in 2013 and Cooper Brown repeated the accomplishment last May.