The twelve members of the Quinnipiac University golf team have a new motivation this spring. The recent loss of head coach Bill Schaaf.
Coach Schaaf recently passed away at the age of 72 from prostate cancer. From Redding, Conn., Schaaf had been a coach here for only three years.
A legendary man all over the state in the game of golf, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Junior team member Jason Birnbaum said the team will miss Coach Schaaf very much, but the memories of him will stay with them.
Quinnipiac’s assistant athletic director Bill Mecca will be overseeing the team for the spring season. However, he has also hired Todd Howes, a 1997 Quinnipiac graduate and a former member of the golf team, to help out with coaching duties.
From Bristol, Conn., Howes is an assistant pro at a local country club and has been working with the team indoors. Birnbaum says it is different working with a younger coach this season.
“It definitely helps that he’s younger because he understands that we have classes and other things going on.”
Howes will continue to work with the team as the season moves outdoors. He will also travel with the team when they begin their tournaments in April.
The spring season will get underway April 6 at the Yale Invitational.
Throughout the month of April, the team will travel to four other tournaments, including the Northeast Conference Championship, throughout the Northeast, from Maryland to New Hampshire and everywhere in between.
The team is young, made up mostly of underclassmen. The two captains, Mark Lautorelle, a management major from Hilton Head, N. C. and Jed Moller, a mass communications major from Hancock, N.H. are the only seniors on the team.
Birnbaum and fellow junior Mike Mahan are looking to take over the leadership roles next year after their senior teammates graduate.
Quinnipiac’s home course is Farms Country Club in Wallingford. Birnbaum says that he understands why the golf team doesn’t get many spectators, because it isn’t as simple as having an on-campus playing field.
“It’s not like we have a home game,” Said Birnbaum. He also said the team was a close knit group.
“I’d like everyone to know how determined we are to represent the school positively when we’re on the road.”
As of now, the team is unsure of who will be traveling to the tournaments. Only five team members can travel to each tournament, and these five are determined by previous rankings.
As the weather continues to improve, the team is getting anxious to get out of the gym and start the season outdoors. Because of the unpredictable spring weather in Connecticut, the team never knows if it will be playing in rain, sun or even snow.