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Penn State looks to win back-to-back titles in front of home crowd
Penn State travels to Ann Arbor, Mich. for their first tournament of the season
Head coach Denise St. Pierre and sophomore Lauren Waller met with the media on Tuesday morning
Penn State travels to Indianapolis, Ind. for their final team tournament of the season
This is the Nittany Lions final spring tournament before the Big Ten Championship
Women's Golf Nittany Lion Invitational 10/05/14
In addition to coaching the Nittany Lions, St. Pierre has also coached in international competitions throughout her coaching career.
In August 2004, St. Pierre helped coach the U.S. team at the World University Games in Thailand where they won the gold medal. Penn State's Katie Futcher captured the individual title in that event.
In June 1999, St. Pierre was selected by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) to coach the U.S. team at the U.S./Japan Collegiate Golf Championships in Chiba, Japan, where the Americans captured their fourth consecutive title.
In its February 2002 issue, Golf for Women magazine named St. Pierre to its "Top 50 Women PGA/LPGA Instructors" list.
St. Pierre has served as President of the NGCA. While president, she led the membership in volunteer work in New Orleans in relief of Hurricane Katrina. At the annual NGCA convention that had to be moved from New Orleans to Tahoe, Nevada, St. Pierre introduced an idea to the membership that called for as many golf programs as possible around the country to conduct fundraisers to raise money for the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. Through the efforts of the Nittany Lion women's golf team as well as those by more than 30 other women's golf programs around the country, the NGCA raised $60,000 to build a home for a displaced family in New Orleans. The efforts of the NGCA culminated when St. Pierre and several of her colleagues traveled to New Orleans and volunteered to help finish building the house that they sponsored through the Habitat for Humanity.
In 2006, St. Pierre has served as the assistant coach of the United States women's golf team at the World University Games held in Torino, Italy for the second time after also serving as the coach in 2004. She led the team to a gold medal for the second straight time.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., St. Pierre chose Penn State for its academic and athletic reputation. As a Nittany Lion herself, St. Pierre's team won several team titles as well as qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
After her graduation in 1983, St. Pierre completed an apprenticeship with the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) at the Innisbrook Resort in Tarpon Springs, Fla. In 1985, she returned to Penn State as an assistant coach for both the men's and women's golf teams under Mary Kennedy-Zierke. She earned 1991 Mid-Atlantic/East Region Coach of the Year honors.
From 2000-04, St. Pierre served as secretary for the NGCA, prior to becoming the president of the NGCA following her time as secretary. St. Pierre has been a guest lecturer for the PGA teaching and coaching summit as well as the National Golf Foundation.
A Class A member of the PGA, the Nittany Lion coach has taught in New York and Florida and is currently the director of instruction at the Penn State Golf Courses. During the winter, St. Pierre teaches a golf conditioning class for the local community. She also serves as the director for the Penn State summer golf schools, and co-directs five junior camps. In addition to all that, St. Pierre is the author of Golf Fundamentals, an instructional book for recreational players.
"It is about them being balanced and how we can encompass academics and personal growth in order for our players to reach their potential," St. Pierre says.
Players face challenges both on and off the course that affect how they play their game. As a coach, she believes she must be aware of those factors in order to help the player cope on the course.
"You have to know first what you want," she adds. "I believe every player has more potential than they realize. It is my job to help draw that potential out of them."
St. Pierre repeatedly stresses the importance of academic success to her players. After the 2013-14 season the team received the Milt Morgan Jr. award, given to the team with highest average GPA at Penn State. In addition, three of St. Pierre's players were named WGCA All-American scholars.
In the 2013-14 season, St. Pierre also saw her players excel on the course as her top two players, Christina Vosters and Ellen Ceresko, both qualified for the NCAA East Regionals as individuals. In Tallahassee, Vosters and Ceresko finished T-36th and T-41st, respectively.
"In order to uphold the Penn State tradition of academic and athletic excellence, we provide each player with a safe environment to play the game at the highest level while balancing her time in the classroom," says St. Pierre Every coach has a different strategy on how to run a team. St. Pierre's is not just centered around golf but around education and dreams.
"I try to be supportive of student-athletes in both their athletic and academic endeavors while here at Penn State," says the 1991 Mid-Atlantic/East Region Coach of the Year.
She understands that golf is not her student-athletes' entire life. Each student-athlete is also at Penn State to receive an education and a life experience.
"My main job as a coach is to discuss what our team's dreams and aspirations are while we're here. My goals are to help them reach theirs. I am a vehicle to allow my players to get where they want to go."
She wants her players to improve themselves in all aspects of life- as a competitor, an athlete and a person- during their time at Penn State.
This Class A teaching professional hopes that her players can develop "using my background as a player, I can display the right attitude and the right actions that I want them to follow."
St. Pierre prepares her players for tournaments, both mentally and physically. The most important thing for her is to have as much information about a tournament, including climate, environment, grass, layout of the golf course and the competition.
Physically, she has her players practice the things that are most likely to occur at those sites.
"The more you know about the situation, the better you can prepare yourself both mentally and physically. The fewer the surprises, the more confident we can be," says the Nittany Lion head coach.