Jeff Kolpack column: Weisgarber shares golf with Bison
Eighty shots. Winning the North Dakota Class A girls golf title by that margin, which Fargo South did this week, is beyond measurable comprehension. It's like asking the question: if there's an end to space, what's on the other side? ...
Eighty shots. Winning the North Dakota Class A girls golf title by that margin, which Fargo South did this week, is beyond measurable comprehension.
It's like asking the question: if there's an end to space, what's on the other side? It had to have been one of the most dominant performances in the state's prep history in any sport.
That's what Diane Weisgarber gave up this year. After four consecutive titles -- and a for-certain fifth if she stayed, including coaching her daughter Kelly -- she went on to something else. Something some folks would view as a step down.
She was named the head women's golf coach at North Dakota State.
The first question is obvious. Why? The love of the sport, that's why.
"We came to a consensus," she said of her family discussions, "that the future of women's golf in this area can grow. We have great players in the Midwest."
Candidates have not lined up en masse for the NDSU job. Weisgarber is the fourth coach in four years. It doesn't pay well, the program is not fully funded and it has very little tradition.
Which, in the whole scheme of things, is probably the charm of it. After doing all she can at the high school level, Weisgarber is engulfed with a doozy of a job.
"I'm here to stay, I'm here to build a program," she said.
She has the proof. When she took the South job, two girls came to the first team meeting. Weisgarber knew she needed more than Andrea Dobmeier and Erica Dahl to field a winning team.
So she started recruiting the halls of South. By the following year, she had 20 players. It doubled to 40 one season later. And she did it with a simple philosophy.
"We made it fun for them," she said.
In the era of private teachers in every golf clubhouse, the modern competitive coach has an expanded role. Granted, they need to know the swing. But mainly, they need to know how to recruit and motivate.
Weisgarber did it to perfection at South. They did activities, games, prizes and treats. Weisgarber emphasized off-season improvement. Obviously, the players took her advice.
Now the trick is to do it at the college level.
"The girls I inherited are up to the challenge as much as I am," Weisgarber said. "It's a climbable mountain."
She already has the women involved with NDSU's strength and conditioning program. The team has great facilities with the Sports Bubble and the Fargo Country Club. What's left, of course, is recruiting.
Weisgarber is in the process of studying for her NCAA certification test that will allow her to make
in-home recruiting visits and
off-campus evaluations. A bigger budget, of course, always helps.
If given marginal resources, NDSU has the right coach with the right approach. She loves golf. A native of small-town Hoople, N.D., she's partly driven by the memory of golfing with her parents and grandparents.
"Now it's my time to share," she said.
NDSU hopes she's able to share her success.
Readers can reach Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or email@example.com