One month after Washington’s women claimed the NCAA title in dramatic fashion, associate head coach Andrea VanderLende surprisingly stepped down from coaching.
VanderLende, who turns 33 on July 6, said the move is not a retirement. It’s more of a change in direction.
“It’s time to become a head coach,” she said, “or do something else.”
The stiff competition in women’s college golf isn’t limited to players. The influx of assistant-coaching positions across the board, and additional head-coaching jobs at new programs, means it could be a long wait for the right fit. Also, as salaries have improved, more male coaches have moved into women’s college golf.
“Every year there’s not that many jobs that are open,” VanderLende said. “I just had to think about the big picture.”
VanderLende played a big role in Washington’s recent success. She spent seven years working alongside longtime coach Mary Lou Mulflur, who said VanderLende made her a better coach by pushing her.
“Andrea is as good as there is in the business,” Mulflur said.
VanderLende’s sparkling personality and keen eye made her a strong recruiter.
“When she walks in a room, people want to be around her and want to talk to her,” Mulflur said.
VanderLende loves the mentoring aspect of coaching and could see herself working in player development. But really, her mind is open. “I have big goals and I want to do big things,” she said.
VanderLende played for Florida in 2001-05 and was the NCAA runner-up in 2003.
VanderLende certainly leaves the college coaching business in style. In the championship match at Eugene Country Club against Stanford, VanderLende told Huskies senior Ying Luo that she could hole the 61-yard pitch shot she faced on the 18th hole for birdie.
Luo believed it, and delivered.
“It’s like a dream,” VanderLende said.
Time for a new one.