In a year of many head coaches departing from Arizona, both the men’s and women’s golf teams were able to retain their head coaches. Men’s head coach Jim Anderson signed a three-year extension and women’s head coach Laura Ianello signed a five-year extension.
With both teams coming off successful seasons, it was crucial for the University of Arizona to retain its star coaches to keep the winning tradition going. Here is a breakdown of each coach and what them staying means for their program.
An argument can be made that Ianello has been one of the best coaches in women’s golf over the last few years. In 11 years with Ianello as head coach, the women’s golf team has made it to the NCAA championship eight times. The Wildcats have also finished fourth or better at the Pac-12 championships every year since 2010. Ianello has also produced seven All-Americans in the past seven seasons.
Ianello is a two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, leading Arizona to all-conference first and second team honors 15 times. She has also coached Wildcats who have made Pac-12 All-Academic teams on 15 different occasions as well during that time. Former golfer Allison Walshe was the first Wildcat to win the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete title in 2008. In 2017, Wanasa Zhou was the second Wildcat ever that was named the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete.
More recently, the Wildcats won a national championship in 2018 and were the only program in the country to reach the semifinals of match play at the last three (2020 canceled because of COVID-19) NCAA championships.
"My goals at Arizona are to continue to build a championship legacy and help our student-athletes excel on and off the course,” Ianello told Arizona Athletics. “Being a Wildcat, and having worn the red and blue, motivates me to make the University of Arizona a world class training center for our current and future student-athletes to become champions and proudly represent this tremendous university."
Being an alumnus of the university, Ianello comprised a very impressive resume as a golfer. She was a member of the national championship team in 2000 and the three-peat of Pac-10 championships (2000, 2001 and 2002). As an amateur golfer on the professional circuit, Ianello was the runner-up at the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. She also played in the U.S. Women’s Open in 2001, 2002 and 2004 and the 2002 Curtis Cup. Ianello also represented the U.S. at the 2000 and 2002 World Amateur Championship. For the 2000-03 seasons, "she was ranked in the top 10 in Golfweek magazine's amateur rankings."
With a profile as impressive as this, both as a player and a coach, the choice to extend Ianello’s contract could not have been any easier.
Reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year Jim Anderson picked the perfect year to showcase his coaching skill set. He led the Wildcats to their first Pac-12 championship since 2004. This past season marked the third straight that Anderson’s team made it to the NCAA regionals, the first time this has happened for the men’s golf team since the mid 2000’s.
"Coaching at The University of Arizona is an incredible honor," Anderson told Arizona Athletics. "I love Tucson and being a part of our university, program and golf community brings me great humility and pride. I look forward to continuing to serve this tremendous university and community. I appreciate the opportunity Dave Heeke and our leadership team at Arizona Athletics have extended to Nita and my family to continue to be proud members of the Wildcat Family. Mike Ketcham has also been a key member of this team and our program who has helped us navigate to a position of sustained success.”
Anderson is a coach who also prides the performances of his players off the course. Redshirt senior David Laskin was named the 2020-21 Pac-12 Men's Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year and received the Tom Hansen Medal from the Pac-12 conference. Anderson has mentored players to All-Pac-12 Teams on eight different occasions in his nine seasons at the UA. In addition, Anderson coached Wildcats that ended up on the Pac-12 All-Academic Teams 10 times.
“I will continue to make the same commitment to serve and work tirelessly because I know what Arizona Golf means to many people, and I believe in what this program can accomplish," Anderson said to Arizona Athletics.
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