Chergo resigns after 15 years leading Denver women

Univeristy of Denver head coach Sammie Chergo watches her players at No. 9 during the 2009 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md.

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Sammie Chergo has resigned from her position as the head women’s golf coach at Denver. Chergo spent 15 seasons building the Pioneer program into a top-50 one, and says it's now time to pursue a different chapter in her life.

Chergo, 42, took over the program 15 years ago as Denver was transitioning from Division II to Division I. Under Chergo, the Pioneers won nine straight Sun Belt Conference Champions and made 11 consecutive appearances in an NCAA Regional. In four trips to the NCAA Championship, a fifth-place finish in 2009 was the highlight.

"We started 15 years ago with nothing," Chergo said. "...I couldn't be happier about where the program is."

Chergo said she'll leave the Denver program most thankful for the relationships with current and former players. Her legacy at Denver will be one of building tradition. Around the university, they call her the mayor.

"With our facilities and players and player we have coming in, they're posed to have even more success," Chergo said of her successor.

Chergo conducted a final team meeting with her players on Sunday evening, but plans to help guide the Pioneers through the first part of the spring. Assistant coach Erik Billinger, who joined the women’s golf staff earlier this fall, will be the interim head coach as Denver begins a national search for Chergo’s replacement. Billinger joined Chergo’s staff last August, after 10 seasons as a PGA golf instructor at Highlands Ranch Golf Club.

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