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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Xavier golf coach Winsor reaches 400-victory milestoneOct 1, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Four hundred of anything is a lot.
Four hundred dollars? Just stack up those George Washingtons. What would you do with all of them?
Four hundred M&Ms? Mighty tasty, if you can deal with the sugar rush.
Four hundred career victories? That’s what Phoenix Xavier Prep golf coach Sister Lynn Winsor has, after defeating Tempe Corona del Sol and Mesa Mountain View in a three-way match on Monday (Oct. 1) at the Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley.
The win by the Gators was the 178th in a row for Winsor, took over the program back in 1974, went on to win countless state titles and has been a national Coach of the Year three times. She also is Xavier’s athletic director.
“When Sister Joan (Fitzgerald, Xavier principal) and I got here, I said, “You handle the academics and I’ll take the athletics,’ and it’s worked out pretty well,’’ Winsor said.
Indeed. Fitzgerald soon will celebrate her 50th year in academics and Winsor, well . . . as long as there is a drive to be struck, a big putt to be made or a person to talk to, she will be there.
Monday’s match was sun-splashed, and even though the temperature hovered near triple digits, Winsor called it “sweater weather.’’
Her golfers responded in a big way. Most of them shot 37 over nine holes – “That’s our lucky number today,’’ Winsor said.
The score of the day was by a freshman. Hannah O’Sullivan shot 30, including the No. 5 hole, when she chipped in for an eagle. O’Sullivan’s score was only one off the school record of 29 set by Kimberly Kim, about seven or eight years ago at Phoenix Country Club, according to the coach.
The number of golfers coached by Winsor is between 175 and 185, according to her estimate.
Among the greats are the late Heather Farr, Missy Farr, Grace Park, Kim, Cheyenne Woods and Amanda Blumenherst. All played or play in the LPGA.
Winsor recalled the time in 1979, when Heather Farr was a freshman, when a “streaker’’ – a person who would scamper about in their birthday suit and interrupt events – showed up at a Phoenix course.
“Streaking was big then,’’ Winsor said. “After the match was over, I wasn’t in my office five minutes when (a school official) said, “We’re out of there (course). From now on, we will go to Phoenix or Camelback.’ ’’
The Gators use those courses as their home to this day.
Winsor, an ASU graduate, played a bit of golf with her college roommate and grew to like the game, “even though I wasn’t very good,’’ she said.
She said she couldn’t have succeeded without the hard work of her assistant coaches (the current one is Tui Selvaratnal) and her assistant athletic director (Sister Nancy Perlick).
“Sister Lynn has always been pro-girls golf,’’ said Corona del Sol coach Pat Reed, who has coached against Winsor and worked with her on various Arizona Interscholastic Association committees. “Even though she has always had great teams, she has accepted everyone, including those who might not be as good, with open arms, just to give them a chance to play, you know, “Come and join us.’ All of it has been for the kids.’’
Kids will be kids, like when Winsor and Selvaratnal drive the small white Xavier bus to matches.
“It’s a lot of fun,’’ Winsor said. “The girls sometimes sing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round . . .’ ’’
Winsor realizes the importance of academics and likes her golfers to balance schoolwork and athletics. Some of her golfers had brought some homework with them on Monday. One player talked about how much she enjoyed studying “Amadeus’’ (Mozart) and another was on her cellphone helping with voter registration.
After all the scores were recorded and the final results announced, the team presented Winsor with bouquets of red roses and balloons (in school colors of blue, green and white) and everyone feasted on cake.
Winsor was all smiles. She is even more excited when she talks about how much the golfers have meant to her over the years.
“The girls have that enthusiasm. They literally keep me young,’’ she said. “The best part of it is seeing them go on to be successful in life, not only as golfers, but whatever they decide to do, things they have a sense of pride in. They move on and then new ones come in. It’s great to be able to watch them grow.’’