Amateur Golf Podcast: San Jose State women's coach Dana Dormann
21 Feb 2023
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com
Dana Dormann keeps finding herself back at San Jose State. After an illustrious playing career at the San Jose State where she won the 1987 national team championship and the Pacific Coast Athletic Association Player of the Year award, she helped the Spartans win another national championship in 1989 as an assistant coach.
Dormann enjoyed success on the LPGA Tour. But San Jose State’s siren song was strong, she joined the coaching staff as an assistant to her husband, John. The program had fallen on hard times, but in the last five years, under her leadership as head coach, the program has turned around and is winning events and competing with power 5 schools on a regular basis.
On how her staff runs practice:
We're super lucky because we have an amazing on-campus practice facility. Right off the bat, that's a huge factor in our success. We do a lot of variable practices. We're able we have a great short game area - huge putting greens, great range. And so we have a tendency to do practices where we're asking them to require a certain task. And that's where we kind of feel like we have some of our secret sauce is setting the bar at the right height, and challenging our team to either perform as a team to do something or individually to complete some type of challenge.
On the the coaching learning curve
I am one of the older coaches around, but I'm still trying to check my ego and still learn. And there's been a lot for me to learn about being a coach, and expectations, and I'm grateful for all of the student-athletes that I've had along the way that have helped me and put up with my learning curve. One of the things that's really important is not to expect a player to be able to do that something immediately. I've had a couple of players help me learn that lesson. And so we work through that learning curve a little bit better. Now, as a more experienced coach, I understand that a little bit better.
On how the landscape of women's college golf has shifted
When we won the national championship in '85, there were maybe 85 total women's teams. And so now I think we're somewhere around 265. So there are a lot more programs to compete against, as far as recruiting goes. Of course, the talent pool has gotten a lot stronger. It's certainly more competitive when it comes to recruiting. You know, back when I was competing, the NCAA was not as stringent on their academic requirements. That certainly changed. Now, and it's a much higher priority for our program to make sure that our players have a parallel plan, because a lot of our players do want to play professionally, not all of them, but a lot of them want to play professionally. But we really emphasize helping them do that. But if it doesn't work out, we want them to have a good backup plan or a good parallel plan, where they could go out and find fulfilling work once they graduate.