CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson will add women’s golf as a varsity sport beginning with the 2013-14 academic year, athletic director Terry Don Phillips announced Monday.
Men’s coach Larry Penley will serve as director of golf for the department.
Penley will hire a women’s head coach who will report to him. He expects to hire the women’s coach within the next couple of months and give the new coach time to recruit the team for the 2013-14 season. Jordan Byrd, the men’s assistant coach, will be promoted to associate head coach for the men.
“Clemson has enjoyed tremendous success in men’s golf and is well positioned to sponsor women’s golf based on this solid foundation,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford. “The ACC continues to compete at the highest level in both men’s and women’s golf and we welcome the addition of their program.”
Clemson’s announcement means the ACC will have 10 schools that sponsor women’s golf by 2013-14. The others are Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest. Clemson will be the ninth Division I program in South Carolina with women’s golf. The others are Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Furman, Presbyterian, South Carolina, The Citadel, Winthrop and Wofford.
This is the first time since the 1998-99 academic year that Clemson has added a sport.
“We feel we can be a nationally competitive program,” Phillips said. “Clemson has been exploring the addition of women’s golf for a number of years – before I came here (2002), in fact.”
In 2000, a Clemson athletic department committee determined after months of study that women’s golf would be the program to add if the department were to expand.
“We have the facilities, including the practice area and course,” Phillips said. “We have a great recruiting base right in our own backyard, and we have the tradition of excellence with our men’s program. I am anxious to start this program.”
Penley pointed to a deep pool of potential recruits as a foundation for the new program.
“When you look at the junior program and the high school programs in this state, in terms of women’s golf, there are many outstanding players a short distance from our campus,” Penley said.
“This past year, the NCAA women’s champion (Austin Ernst of LSU) grew up 15 minutes from Clemson (in Seneca). Many others from the state are starters at nationally ranked programs throughout the country. We have had great success recruiting South Carolina players for our men’s program, and we can do it with our women’s program as well.”
Phillips said that the program would be fully funded, including the NCAA maximum of six full scholarships.