Olivia Lugar and Sean Curtis Sweep NGCA Special Awards
St. Louis, Mo., May 16, 2012 – Two days after earning first-team All-America honors Washington University in St. Louis freshman Olivia Lugar was named the 2012 National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) National Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, as announced by the NGCA.
In addition, fourth-year head coach Sean Curtis was named the Division III Eaton Pride NGCA National Coach of the Year and Division III Eaton Pride NGCA Central Region Coach of the Year.
“We knew we were getting someone special when Olivia committed to us last spring. It was the same feeling I had when Hannah (Buck) and Andi (Hibbert) committed to us in previous years,” said Curtis. “There are a lot of things that can make someone successful in this game. She is probably one of the most knowledgeable players we've had in our program. She really knows her own game and has the ability to go out and apply it to a golf course she has never played. She also possesses a tremendous attitude and a strong desire to get better.”
Lugar led NCAA Division III with a 75.50 average and recorded 22 of 24 rounds at 80 or lower. She carded a career-low round of 71 at the O’Brien National Invitational on Sept. 12 and at the Phoenix Invitational on March 16. Lugar won four of the five tournaments she competed in the fall, and had eight top-10 finishes in her rookie campaign. Lugar finished tied for ninth at the NCAA Division III Championship.
“It's an honor to be recognized by the NGCA for my play this year, and I'm very happy that all that work has been rewarded even if I wasn't able to perform as well as I had hoped in the National Championship,” Lugar said. “As far as my play, I accomplished a lot of the goals I had coming into college, while a few of them will have to wait until next year. I have been blessed to have met and played with some really great golfers along the way that have pushed me and kept me on my game, several of them wearing the red and green.”
The fourth season as a varsity program brought overwhelming success for Curtis and the Bears, posting a school-record 313.00 scoring average, which ranked second in all of NCAA Division III. Washington U. finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the Division III head-to-head rankings.
Washington University also made its third-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship finishing 13th, and was ranked No. 2 in the Golf World/NGCA top-25 poll. The Bears placed in the top-five in nine of 12 tournaments they competed in, and won a Division III-best six tournaments in 2011-12.
“I was definitely surprised to win National Coach of the Year. That's a huge honor. I really appreciate that other coaches thought enough of me to give me that award,” Curtis added. “Some of the previous winners like Kathy Niepagen (Illinois Wesleyan), Vince Lazar (DePauw) and Scott Moe (Gustavus Adolphus) are coaches whose programs we looked up to and tried to emulate when we were beginning this program.”
“This award is completely reflective of how the team performed this year. I told the team that and this is why it is a shared honor. All the coaches who were candidates for this award had teams that were in the top-10 nationally, so once again our play made the difference.”
The National Golf Coaches Association, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The NGCA was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the NGCA represents nearly 500 coaches throughout the U.S. and is dedicated to educating, promoting and recognizing both its members and the student-athletes they represent.