Aug. 12, 2009
|| Getting to Know the OU Women's Golf Coach
NORMAN, Okla. -- On June 24, Veronique Drouin was named just the fifth head coach in the 33-year history of the University of Oklahoma women’s golf program. Drouin’s background as a standout collegiate player at Kent State and as an accomplished assistant coach at Georgia is sure to aid her as she takes the helm of the Crimson and Cream.
The St. Agnes, Quebec, native served her first full season on Georgia’s staff in 2006 and was named interim head coach for the 2007 Central Regional Championships and NCAA Championships. With her help, Georgia produced 11 All-Americans and two SEC champions while posting three NCAA top-10 team finishes and four top-20 finishes.
During her playing career at Kent State, Drouin helped lead her 2001 team to a program-best 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Two years later she led her squad to a 19th-place showing. Drouin then took her individual career to the international scene while she worked toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s in sports management. She was the runner up at the 2006 Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2005 British Ladies’ Amateur and finished fifth in stroke play qualifying at the 2004 British Ladies Amateur.
Settling into her office at the Charlie Coe Golf Learning Center, Drouin recently took time out of her hectic schedule to visit with Soonersports.com about her transition to Norman and her vision for the OU program.
|| Veronique Drouin - Q&A | August 12, 2009
How would you describe your experience with OU and Norman since you were hired in June?
“So far it’s been a good experience. I’ve been out on the road recruiting a lot, just trying to find some 2010 players that would be a good fit for the university and a good fit for the program.”
What attracted you to the head coaching position at Oklahoma?
“The university is well known around the country. I believe that it should be a good place to recruit to. I think that it’s a great place. There’s no reason for us not to be one of the top teams in the country with the facilities we have and things like that. Right now it’s a good challenge for me. I’m taking over a challenge to get things in place, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
What is your recruiting philosophy and what type of student-athletes would you like to bring to OU?
“I’m looking for players who want to be here and who are looking forward to continuing a tradition that we have. I want players who have a good work ethic and that are willing to work hard to change this program.”
What are some of the aspects about the OU athletics department and golf program that are beneficial to prospective members of your team?
“I think the facilities are awesome. (OU men’s golf coach) Ryan (Hybl) and I are making some changes to the Charlie Coe Golf Learning Center. We’re trying to upgrade some things to make it even better. It’s already good, but we’re trying to make it even better.
The Prentice Gautt Academic Center--I think it’s a great asset for any athlete on campus. There’s no reason why someone can’t succeed here because there are so many people working and helping out; everyone should be able to graduate. I think that’s a great asset for prospective student-athletes, and hopefully it will make a difference in attracting student-athletes. It’s important to have a degree. That’s one of my big things. I’m huge on academics. It’s very important and I think you have to have a degree to fall back on eventually.”
What are some early goals for next season? How do you assess the returning golfers and have you had a chance to evaluate the incoming freshmen?
“Things are going to be a little different than in the past. I want the girls to work hard and, from what I can tell, they’re excited about the change and they want to be successful. I don’t know how we’re going to do, but I’m looking forward to it. I definitely would love to see us win a tournament and see us get our confidence up a little bit. I’ve only met one player thus far, but I’m definitely excited for them to get back in town and to start working with them. I think it’s going to be different, but I think it’s going to be good. Like I said, they’re all excited so that makes it easier for me.”
You served as interim head coach at Georgia during the 2007 NCAA Central Regional and NCAA Championships. How did that benefit you and what can you take from that experience to help you as head coach at OU?
“The team that I was in charge of at Georgia, there were great players on that team. It was a unique situation for why I was named coach. The girls did great at regionals and nationals. It was tough because there were a lot of people asking questions about what happened, and to be honest I didn’t want them to think about it. We were there to qualify for nationals and then we were at nationals to try and win a championship. As for my experience, I think I learned a lot. At the time I was pretty young and to be in charge of a team that was No. 1 in the country was overwhelming at first, but that’s why I was an assistant. My goal was eventually to become a head coach, and to have my chance in 2007, especially for the big tournament, that was big. I think it helped me out as far as being named head coach here at OU, for sure.”
When you’re working with student-athletes, what are some of the things you want to instill in them that are important to their development?
“As a golfer, I think it’s super important to have a really good short game. It doesn’t matter how far you can hit it, because if you can get it up and down from anywhere around the greens, you’re going to do pretty well. The things that I will start out doing here are short-game activities and drills. As a student, I want them to have a good experience here. It’s not always about playing golf; there’s more to it. I want them to have a well-rounded life as a student. I want them to be a regular student in a way, and then be a golfer when they come out to practice.”
What is your scheduling philosophy?
“The schedule for the upcoming year was mostly done when I got here. I made some changes, but not many. But I do want to get our girls in some tournaments where they are going to be competing against the best players in the country. I think that’s important for them to assess how they’re doing and what they need to improve upon. So down the road, I definitely want to participate in some big tournaments. I think it’s important to play against good players. That’s how you get better.”
Have you gotten a chance to play the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course? What are your thoughts?
“I would love to play it sometime soon, but I don’t know that I’ll have time right now. I’m going to be on the road again this week, but I’ve heard great things about it. It’s in great shape. I’ve driven around the golf course and it looks awesome. I definitely can’t wait to get out there and play. Who knows, maybe next week when I come out with the girls I’ll play. I’m looking forward to it. It’s in great condition. We’re hosting the Big 12 Championship in the spring, so that’s great for us and I’m looking really forward to it.”