NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma head women's golf coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell will start her fifth season with the Sooners when they compete in the Dale McNamara Fall Preview Sept. 9-11 at Tulsa Country Club, site of the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Drouin-Luttrell has had quite the start to her Oklahoma tenure. The OU women's golf program has been competing for 38 years, but Drouin's last three squads are the best in OU history in terms of season scoring average. Under her direction, the Sooners finished sixth and ninth at the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championships, respectively, marking the first time that OU finished in the top 10 nationally in consecutive years.
SoonerSports.com sat down with Drouin-Luttrell earlier this week for a Q&A to preview the 2013-14 season, which promises to be another stellar one in Norman with three of the most decorated golfers in school history on this year's squad.
Q: Can you talk about the summer? It seems like the girls were pretty busy on the course.
A: "The girls all went home for summer, and they played in a lot of tournaments. A lot of them came back really ready and really sharp. They worked with their instructors to get better."
Q: What are your thoughts on this year's team?
A: "We're definitely excited. This senior class, from day one when they arrived on campus, knew they could do something pretty special and that's how we've turned the program around. They had confidence. They knew they were good and that they could do something special. So that's how we started their freshman year and we've improved as a team every year. For the seniors, it's pretty special to see how far we've come. They've worked really hard, and I appreciate them and their work. I'm really proud of them."
Q: Talk about the impact these four seniors have had on this program.
A: "When the seniors came in they knew they had to work hard to get the team on the right path. They've just done a great job. I'm so proud that they've just embraced the university and the traditions we started."
Q: On the other hand, how big of an impact can the freshmen have?
A: "The freshmen definitely have a chance to make a big impact. With two seniors graduating last year, we definitely need someone to step up, and I think the freshmen are going to be there and be ready. They've played a lot of golf and they've played in some big tournaments, so they have the experience to fill some big shoes."
Q: You're ranked No. 6 in the preseason coaches' poll. Is that about where you thought you'd be ranked? If not, are you guys motivated by where you're picked?
A: "Any time that you're ranked in the top 10 it's pretty special. It definitely shows that not only do we know we're good, but other people are watching as well. In the preseason coaches' poll, being ranked sixth is a good thing. We have goals and we're going to work toward those. The girls are really excited to just get going. We have room to improve. We can move up, and that's what is really exciting about this season."
Q: How has the addition of Matt Luther as assistant coach helped the team?
A: "Matt has been a great addition. He has different views on practices and some of our workout stuff. I feel that we make a really good team as far as a staff, and we're just striving to reach our goals and trying to motivate everybody."
Q: What do you like about your schedule this year?
A: "Our schedule is very good. I don't know what it's going to be ranked when it comes out, but I would guess it's going to be a top-five schedule in the country, which is very good. Our girls are going to play against some of the best players and teams in the country, and that's really going to show how good we are. The schedule is awesome. It really shows how far we've come, because at first it was hard for us to get into any good tournaments. Now we get invited to a lot of really good tournaments, so it's very exciting."
Q: Talk about the season-opening Dale McNamara Fall Preview that will be held in Tulsa next week and what you want to learn about your team in the early part of the year.
A: "The Fall Preview is so early in the season, but it's good to have it here in Oklahoma. As a staff, we went to play Tulsa Country Club and we really liked the golf course. I think it will really set up well for our girls, so our practices have been based on what we saw when we were there. I just want the girls to go out there and play the course and see what happens at the end of each round. Hopefully we'll be able to get up there and play a few rounds before the national championship, but for us to play four rounds there this fall will be good experience."