Head Coach Colette Murray
SOCON COACH OF THE YEAR: 2010 • 2011
Colette Murray was named head coach of the Chattanooga Mocs women's golf program on January 19, 2006. Her charge was to restart a program that had been dormant at UTC for a couple of decades.
She has wasted little time in making her mark. In her five seasons, Colette's charges have won three Southern Conference Championships among 12 total team titles. In fact, the Mocs won four times in that first campaign (2007-08).
A tireless worker, her passion and dedication to the game is easy to see. Her commitment to building an elite program based on the department's mission to establish comprehensive excellence - academically, athletically and socially - as the UTC standard is quite evident.
Her squad made a major splash right out of the gate in 2007. The Mocs won three straight events to open the inaugural season. It started at the Chris Banister Gamecock Classic which was followed by triumphs at the Great Smokies Women's Collegiate and Hawkeye Invitational. That first team won four times in all matching Murray's high expectations.
Her program has been a consistent player on the national scene. There have been five NCAA Regional Appearances in five years...yep, five for five. The inaugural season saw freshman sensation Emma de Groot qualify as an individual and the team has followed suit ever since.
The first team appearance was in 2009 which coincidentally is the first time the team advanced to the NCAA Championship. After a runner-up finish at the SoCon Championship, the Mocs headed to the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio for the NCAA Central Regional.
Chattanooga claimed eighth-place and a spot in the finals ahead of No. 15 Louisville, No. 17 Kent State, Washington, Stanford and Notre Dame among others. UTC missed a top 20 finish by two shots but topped the likes of No. 18 UC Irvine, Texas and Ohio State.
The team has been in regionals at the 2010 East Regional (18th), 2011 Central (T12th) and 2012 East (19th). Maria Juliana Loza earned the program's first top 10 tying for eight at the 2011 Central Regional on Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind.
Loza was four-over par on her final round through 12 holes. Murray told her she need to finish at even par so Loza birdied four of the final six holes including the last three to get to seven-over par for the tournament. She lost a playoff to advance to the NCAA Championship but earned All-Central Regional honors.
Along with the 12 team titles, Murray has had nine medalists as well. Six of those titles belong to de Groot who had at least one win in each of her four seasons. She won the Mocs first SoCon Women's Golf Championship in 2011 beating teammate Jordan Britt in second by three. Kelly Brotherton won the first event the team played in (Chris Banister Gamecock Cl.), while Christine Wolf set school and tournament records with her win at the 2011 JMU Eagle Landing Invite.
Britt has the most recent win. After the runner-up finish to de Groot in 2011, she claimed a three-shot win as the Mocs swept the 2012 SoCon Championship. Her medalist honor came by three over the 32nd-ranked player in the nation, Fanny Cnops (UNCG).
The Mocs claimed four wins in 2010-11 tying the school record with the inaugural season of 2007-08. UTC won at the Furman Intercollegiate, Kinderlou Forest Challenge, JMU/Eagle Landing Invite and the Southern Conference Championship. Her ladies shattered school and tournament records at JMU/Eagle Landing with a final round 278 (-10). They finished 33 shots clear of East Carolina, a 2011 NCAA Regional squad, with an 859 total (-5).
Chattanooga would add a 30-stroke victory in claiming its second straight SoCon title. UTC shot the low round each day and boasted three student-athletes in the top five, four in the top 10.
For the second year in a row the Mocs ranked among the top 40 programs at the end of the season. The Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index's final ranking had Chattanooga listed at No. 31 for the program's best end-of-year mark. UTC defeated the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Kent State, Oklahoma State, San Jose State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, all 2010 NCAA Championship qualifiers.
Murray claimed SoCon Coach of the Year as all six team members were honored on postseason squads. de Groot was named Golfer of the Year and was joined on the all-league squad by Loza and Christine Wolf. Britt, Budhram and Duvernay (a mid-season enrollee) made the all-freshman team.
The 2009-10 schedule proved the Mocs were up to task. UTC claimed wins over six teams that ended the season in the top 25 including No. 5 Duke. Other top 25 wins included No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Ohio State (2-1), No. 19 Oklahoma State (1-0), No. 21 LSU and No. 23 TCU.
For her efforts, Murray was named SoCon Coach of the Year. That award was announced shortly after the team captured its first league title with a stunning final nine performance.
The team was down five strokes to the College of Charleston at the turn in the final round, when Loza and de Groot keyed a 13-shot turnaround. The duo combined to shoot five-under par on the back nine to lead the Mocs to an eight-stroke victory.
It could be argued that despite the Mocs' seven tournament wins over the first two-plus years of the program, the eighth-place finish at the 2009 Hooters Collegiate Match Play was the best to date in the program's short history, despite it also serving as a disappointing one.
Chattanooga finished ahead of two top 10 programs from 2008-09 in Duke (8) and North Carolina (9) as well as Kent State and TCU which were Nos. 22 and 25; respectively. UTC also took Florida, South Carolina and Georgia to the limit in match play losing 3-2 to the Gators and Gamecocks, and 2-1-2 to UGa.
UTC claimed third-place at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Primm, Nev., at the Primm Valley Casinos Resort Desert Course. The Mocs shot a 54-hole total of 19-over par 883 which fell just two shots shy of the leader, Pepperdine at 881 and one behind Cal at 882. Chattanooga finished ahead of Ohio State (884), Oklahoma State (886), UC Irvine (890), Harvard (904), UNLV (904), East Tennessee State (915) and Oral Roberts (915) to round out the top 10. Wolf finished tied for third at 216 (E), while de Groot tied for 11th at 221 (+5).
The Mocs ended the year ranked No. 39 on Golfstat, as the program's ranking continued to rise at the end of each season. The team was No. 44 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and received votes in the Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll throughout the season.
In 12 2008-09 tournaments, the team met at least one of the top five teams in the country six times. Chattanooga compiled a record of 86-89-2 against that schedule. In 10 regular-season tournaments, the Mocs faced top 10 opponents 20 times including a win over No. 5 Wake Forest at the Mason Rudolph Women's Championship in October. The team finished the year ranked in the top 50 in both the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and Golfstat ending up as the top ranked team in the Southern Conference at No. 44.
Just three UTC losses that season came against teams ranked outside the top 50 with all three of the losses coming against teams ranked in the top 60. The 2009 team boasted two All-SoCon performers in de Groot and Maria Salinas who was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Salinas was joined on the All-Freshman team by Loza.
The Mocs claimed two wins in 2008-09. They opened the season defending their title at the Chris Banister Gamecock Classic in record fashion in September. Murray's charges also claimed the title at the inaugural JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational with a school record 283 (-5) in the final round. de Groot tallied medalist honors at the Chris Banister and JMU/Eagle Landing events.
Chattanooga concluded its inaugural season in 2007-08 ranked No. 70 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index and 75 by Golfstat. It also boasted two All-SoCon performers in de Groot and Wolf with de Groot earning Freshman of the Year honors. A final individual ranking of No. 40 in the Golfstat Cup and No. 74 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index and a berth in the NCAA East Regional added to de Groot's impressive first season.
Murray prepares her teams for the postseason by playing an aggressive schedule. It is the norm for Chattanooga to play against the highest-ranked teams in the country and find key wins along the way.
The chronicling of the team's wins over top 25 competition highlights how strong the program has established itself on the course.
In the epic 2009 season, the women's golf program was second each semester in team grade point average scoring 3.44 in the fall and 3.46 in the spring while playing at a high level. They followed that joining 10 other UTC program exceeding 3.0 again each semester of 2009-10 including a 3.57 in the spring.
The ladies had a grade point average of just a shade below 3.65 for 2010-11 alone. Every team member in 2010-11 made the Dean's List with two, de Groot and Maria Juliana Loza, earning perfect 4.0 marks. The team as a whole combined for a 3.629 cumulative GPA for their academic careers. Loza, Jordan Britt, Yushira Budhram and Marion Duvernay all earned NGCA All-America Scholar honors.
It was the second All-America Scholar award for Loza who earned three such awards in her career. There have been five student-athletes honored a total of seven times in five years.
The 2011 Mocs squad ranked No. 13 in the nation among NCAA Division I women's golf programs with a 3.649 cumulative g.p.a. That was followed by a program-record 3.72 in 2012 with every student-athlete earning Dean's List honors as three - Loza, Britt and Mette Kryger earning 4.0 g.p.a.'s in at least one semester.
One of Murray's favorite endeavors is the Player Development Complex. The Mocs' practice home is shared with the First Tee of Chattanooga. Instead of just utilizing the facility, Murray and her student-athletes have taken work days at the facility which has a two-fold effect.
One, the team learns all that goes into making their practice home functional. Secondly, it gives them a better appreciation for what others do to make it an elite game-building experience.
In May 2011, Murray received special recognition for her impact on the
lives of young people. The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland honored her with the
Empowering Women Global Award.
She gained her first taste of coaching experience working as an assistant to Jacksonville State Head Coach James Hobbs, a longtime, successful collegiate head coach. In 2005, Murray helped guide the Gamecocks women's team to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship and the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament. JSU placed 20th at the NCAA East Regional.
A native of Dumfries, Scotland, she was a member of the Scottish golf team. She also represented Scottish National Teams for both lacrosse and soccer.
Murray completed PAS (Plott Advanced Systems) qualifications, Reaching
Your Potential Inc., a program that relates personality with movement in
discovering your own learning styles. A TPI (Titleist Performance
Institute) certified golf fitness instructor, she is undergoing Class A PGA
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE TITLES
SOCON COACH OF THE YEAR
NCAA INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIER
SoCON GOLFER of the YEAR