‘I was shocked’

By on April 8, 2009

(This is the second of a three-part series addressing the recent cuts of Quinnipiac’s men’s outdoor track, golf and women’s volleyball programs.)

John O’Connor, head coach of the golf team, did not expect the news that he received on March 4. He learned that Quinnipiac’s golf team was to be cut the same day that the rest of the University found out. It was right before practice when the news was given to him, and half an hour later it was delivered to his team.

The golf team is one of three to be cut, along with men’s outdoor track and women’s volleyball. According to the memo sent out by Quinnipiac, “All athletics programs were reviewed within the context of conference, NCAA and federal guidelines. The review considered projected cost savings, facility and scheduling issues, gender equity and programs’ competitive aspirations.”

Although many school’s budgets are being cut, there was still surprise when the golf team was on the list of programs cut.

“I was shocked because it never occurred to me that it would be golf,” said O’Connor, who is in his third year of coaching at Quinnipiac “Reducing budgets for next year was planned. Cutting back was discussed.”

Currently 10 golfers are on the team. O’Connor said their reactions were “miserable and devastating. These kids are not just golfers who play on the weekends; they have devoted their young lives to golf. Parents have spent fortunes with lessons and entry fees and greens fees. It’s no different than basketball or soccer camp.”

Of the golfers on the team, three are seniors. For the rest of the golfers, it may be difficult to find a school to play golf at next year because it is so late in the semester.

“I have a kid that actually transferred after the first semester as a freshman so that he could play golf here. He is devastated,” O’Connor said. “I’m sure he tormented over coming to school here. When I talked to him, I said you can come. I can’t guarantee anything. And it was less than six weeks later that the program was dropped.”

Recruitment for next year was also well underway. One student was signed from Toronto to come to Quinnipiac in the fall.

“I had to break the news to him in March that there’s no program,” O’Connor said.

According to O’Connor, one can only blame the financial state of our country.

“I don’t blame the school. The economy is just terrible,” O’Connor said. “It has created a lot of very difficult situations for kids.”

All of the coaches at Quinnipiac have shown support for O’Connor since the news broke.

“Every coach has come up to me and expressed great sympathy for me,” O’Connor said. “They all understand what it would be like to lose something you’ve worked for. You try to convince everybody that Quinnipiac is committed to athletics but this really takes the wind out of your sails.”

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