The Laker/Lutz News staff report
After leading the Saint Leo women’s golf program to national success, Lions head coach Erika Brennan resigned June 25 to take the assistant women’s golf coach position at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Brennan, who just finished her fifth season at the helm of the women’s golf program, led the Lions to four NCAA Division II regional appearances, including their first postseason appearance in 2010. In addition to sending multiple golfers to the regional spotlight, Brennan also led Saint Leo women’s golfer, Goeun Lee, to an NCAA National Championship appearance in 2012.
“I’m grateful for Saint Leo and the opportunity to coach here. Mr. Reidy took a chance on a coach with very little experience and allowed me to grow while taking extra time to mentor me along the way,” said Brennan. “The teams that I’ve had the opportunity to coach have taught me so much. They are a group of girls that I will never forget, and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to coach them.”
During most of her time with the green and gold, the Lions saw high national rankings, including an overall Golfstat Ranking of ninth in the nation during the 2010-11 season. In addition to high team honors, Brennan guided Heather Petronis to Saint Leo’s first Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year Award in 2011.
“We are grateful for the great work Coach Brennan did with the program,” said Director of Athletics Francis X. Reidy. “She took over a fledging program and developed it into a top-25 program. Because of her work and dedication, the women’s golf program is in a much better place today. In addition to her success on the course, we will also miss the great work she did with our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Leadership class, which she developed. We wish her all the best at UT and in the next chapter of her career.”
Although she was new to the collegiate coaching ranks upon her arrival to Saint Leo, Brennan’s success with the Lions has certainly left a dent in the record books. In the fall of 2012 the team set numerous records, including the top single round team score (291) and top 36-hole tournament score (592), which they scored at the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate.
As an advisor for the Saint Leo Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Sophomore Leadership class, Brennan has also impacted the surrounding community with community outreach projects such as raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation ($21,500 in just three years), donating items to local charities and hosting multiple events for local community members. During the past two years, Saint Leo also won the Sunshine State Conference donation competition by donating nearly 12,000 nonperishable items to Dade City Catholic Charities.
“Saint Leo University holds such a special place in my heart,” said Brennan on her departure. “The core values that I’ve learned in my time here will be carried with me for the rest of my life.”
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