KU's Nugent thrives amid the Buddy system

Katy Nugent of Kansas during the first round of the UCF Challenge.

Katy Nugent of Kansas during the first round of the UCF Challenge.

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Alison LeeUCLA  69.59 
2Annie ParkUSC  69.73 
3Yu LiuDuke  69.81 
4Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.00 
5Gaby LopezArkansas  70.01 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Southern California 70.32 
2UCLA 70.60 
3Duke 70.79 
4Stanford 71.49  10 
5Arkansas 71.52 

Two days ago, I met Katy Nugent for the first time. Kind of strange, given all the details I know about the senior from Kansas. I know when she got her oil changed, when her dog Buddy had a tooth pulled, and when she dreamed about accounting for options and restricted stock (whatever that means) the night before a big test.

Last February, Nugent signed up for Twitter while sitting at a Steak ’n Shake with her Kansas teammates. I’m not sure how long I’ve been following @KatyNugent42 on Twitter, but I probably wouldn’t have met her Monday had it not been for the vast arm of social media.

Nugent has 122 followers and has tweeted 1,173 times (as of this minute).

@KatyNugent42 How college is preparing me for working in a few months: afternoon class on a beautiful day

Like the majority of college golfers, Nugent won’t play professionally. She’s No. 699 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and hopes to lead Kansas to NCAA regional action for the first time this spring.

Twitter allows for an interesting glimpse into Katy’s college life, and enables a writer to keep tabs on a pocket of golf that gets little attention. To get the whole story, however, it was nice to meet Nugent in person at the UCF Challenge, where she tied for 38th.

Nugent began her college career at Arkansas, but transferred after two years once she realized pro golf wasn’t in her future. She knew she wanted to return home to Kansas after graduation, and the best way to get a job through recruiters was to be in Kansas. As a junior at KU, Nugent posted a 76.03 scoring average and competed in all 11 events.

A double major in accounting and finance, Nugent tweeted frequently last semester about a graduate-level tax class that added a fair amount of stress. She was class valedictorian at Andover (Kan.) High School.

Nugent’s return to Kansas paid off. She went through the interview process last fall and landed a job at Koch Industries in Wichita, no small feat in this economy.

The most interesting tale of Nugent’s tenure at Kansas, however, can be seen in her avatar: a 6-year-old golden retriever named Buddy.

Last summer, the Kansas softball coach needed to find a home for Buddy, her late husband’s dog, or he would have to go to the Humane Society. Nugent had offered to take care of the dog for a few days in an emergency, and when she got out of summer school class one afternoon at 4 o'clock, the golf coach told Nugent that she had two hours to rescue Buddy.

Nugent ran by Wal-Mart to pick up treats and dog food, then took Buddy back home to her apartment. She was supposed to look after him only over the long Fourth of July weekend.

“After four days with him,” she said, “I just couldn’t part with him.”

Nugent’s Twitter timeline reveals details of a frenzied athlete trying to balance senior-level courses with a hectic travel schedule and a lovable dog.

On one job interview last semester, Nugent found it hard not to laugh when asked to talk about a time when she had a really busy week.

“Really?” she thought to herself. “Pick a week.”

#LifeOfAStudentAthlete #RockChalk
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