By: Jordy Clifton
Assistant women’s golf coach Derek Radley came to the University of Arizona in 2012. In his second year assisting head coach Laura Ianello, Radley will be taking on a slightly different role for the 2014 women’s golf season.
Ianello is expecting a brand new member to her family in late February. With her out on maternity leave, Radley will be taking over the head coach position for the first three or four tournaments.
“She is due February 25,” Radley said. “Then she is going to take some time off for maternity leave so there are going to be three tournaments that I am going to be taking over as head coach. Her goal is to get back for the fourth tournament, which is sometime in April.”
Radley is looking forward to helping out in more of a leadership role in the starting tournaments. With his wife, Sara Radley, by his side as volunteer assistant coach, Radley knows that he will succeed in this upcoming role change.
“I am definitely looking to take over that leader role,” Radley said. “(Ianello) and I do a pretty good job of balancing between it right now.”
Although Ianello will be out for the first few tournaments, both have prepared the team for the season’s opening tournament on February 9.
Radley has pro level experience from caddying and coaching for Sara. He incorporates that experience into the practice and play for the squad and knows that the team will be well-prepared for the rest of the season.
“She was the only pro I ever taught,” Radley said. “I caddied for her for two and half seasons, and I think it was the best training I could have ever had. Helping her try to find a balance week in and week out is really something I try to do with our girls. When I was out there with Sara, I saw the best players in the world and how they practiced and prepared for tournaments so I try to do a lot of those things in practice with our girls.”
Radley also played at the college level at Ferris State. With that experience, he brings more knowledge to this college level team. Radley’s coach at the time inspired him to do what he is doing today.
“My college golf coach and I are still really close,” Radley said. “He was somebody I looked up to as a role model. I think that not only helped me out in golf, but just kind of helped me be a good person. So that was one of the big things on why I got into college coaching, was the idea that I could really have an effect on these younger kids, not only in golf but just life in general. It’s great to be there and be a good influence on them.”
Radley’s goal is for all of the girls succeed on the green and off. He wants to incorporate as much fun as help into practice and the girls really appreciate all of his hard work throughout the years.
“Coach Radley is always so positive and full of energy,” said women’s golf junior Kendall Price. “He never comes to practice in a bad mood. Practice is so fun because of the drills and games that he has us play. He is there to make us better and you can tell that he loves to help people. He is always willing to help out with anything you need, whether its golf related or life related.”
Radley tries to focus on the little things that matter and likes for the players to have fun with it, all while keeping a professional mindset.
“A lot of the golfers say they do well on the driving range and not in the tournaments,” Radley said. “But the problem is that they are hitting 40 shots on the driving range and you only get one in a tournament, so we try to put the players in as many pressure situations as we can in practice. That way when they get out in the tournament, they are ready to go.”
This year, Radley and the entire team are focused on sticking together. Positive feedback and energy will be keys in reaching that goal.
“We just want to focus on the positives,” Radley said. “I think just getting off to a good start is really going to be important for us. I am always looking for what they did that was good, never really negatives about the statistics. Our goal I think, too, is to have a little bit more fun this semester. I want them to cheer each other on.”
With February 9 right around the corner, the Wildcats are practicing hard to prepare for a tough course ahead in Palo Verdes, Calif.
“It’s a challenging golf course so we are going to have to be ready,” Radley said. “We are working really hard in practice to prepare. I am excited to get ready to go and get started.”
With seven players on the roster, the Wildcats will be adding a new member to the team soon, baby Ianello. Good luck to head coach Ianello as she embarks on this new life journey.