For the first time in Harvard history, the men’s and women’s golf teams will share a head coach, the golf program announced last Friday.
Kevin Rhoads, who has coached the women’s team to multiple league championships, will now serve as head coach of both teams. Claire H. Sheldon ’10 and Daniel Joseph were named assistant coaches for the women’s and men’s teams, respectively.
“Certainly our confidence in Coach Rhoads and the great job he’s done for the women’s team over the past eight to nine years, in building [the women’s] program into the best program in the Northeast has a lot to do with [the change],” said Director of Golf Fred Schernecker ’89.
Coming off its third Ivy League Championship in five years, the Harvard women’s golf team has achieved success both in tournament play and in its efforts to recruit young talent.
This fall Christine P. Lin ’16 was been named one of Golf World’s Top 50 Players to Watch. Last year Tiffany Lim ’15 was ranked the nation’s sixth-best freshman by Golfweek Magazine.
Schernecker said that financial considerations were not a factor in the department’s decision to consolidate the program. “We’ve tried to operate the new structure within the same budget that we had before,” he said. “I think the primary goal was to get our men’s team the best possible coach we could find and we already had the best coach we could find on the women’s team.”
Under Rhoads, the women’s team has tallied its six best scores in team history and won 29 tournaments. Last season, Bonnie Y. Hu ’14 won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships, Lim was named to the All-Ivy second team and won Ivy League Rookie of the year, and Jane Lee ’12 was named to the All-Ivy second team.
The Harvard women’s team won its first Ivy League Championship in the 2007-08 season, when new assistant coach Sheldon won all-Ivy recognition. Rhoads and the team continued their winning streak with a consecutive Ivy title in the following season.
Though Rhoads’s official appointment to the men’s team was only announced recently, he has been working with the team for a number of weeks in anticipation of the switch.
“He’s been great in balancing the job with the two teams, and he’s working really hard to give both teams the attention they need,” junior captain Theo D. Lederhausen ’14 said. “He’s all about positivity, and he definitely preaches that by reaffirming what’s good about our [play].
”Under former men’s coach Jim Burke, Harvard placed fourth at last year’s Ivy League Championships. The team’s best showing was at The Century Intercollegiate, where it came in second. Harvard is entering this season with three of last year’s starters—Lederhausen, Seiji Y. Liu ’14, and Akash D. Mirchandani ’15.
“The men’s team has been on an upward swing the last couple of years, and my main ideas are to try to build on some of the successes that they have been having, with the eventual goal of trying to get them to the same level as the women have been, relative to the rest of the league,” Rhoads said.
The dual-coaching appointment is unusual—and perhaps unprecedented—in the Ivy League.
“Kevin is a fantastic instructor,” Princeton’s women’s head golf coach Nicki Cutler said. “He’s really a student of the game, and I think he has a lot to bring to the table, in terms of teaching and coaching.”
Both Rhoads and Schernecker believe the new structure of the golf program is a way to extend Rhoads’s coaching through the network of assistant coaches.
Sheldon was the captain of the women’s team in 2010 and helped the team to win two of its last three league titles. On the men’s side, Joseph, who hails from Pennsylvania State University, will look forward to his first season with the Crimson.
“This is an ideal situation for us and for coach Rhoads,” Schernecker said. “It might look like a trial, but it’s something that we’re committed to and see as the right thing for our teams.”
—Staff writer Claire K. Dailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.