Augustana golf programs see a change in leadership

The Augustana golf programs began their fall seasons with two major leadership changes. 

Head women’s golf coach Coralee Jorgensen became director of the golf program in June, and the men’s golf team welcomed Mike Krsnak as the new head coach in August. 

Jorgensen was the women’s golf coach last year when the women’s  team won the conference championship.

Josh Morton, director of athletics, said he hopes the new hires will both continue to foster Augustana’s tradition of success in golf and hopes Krsnak will push the men’s team to the same level of success as the women’s. 

“We’re a program that’s focused on excellence,” Morton said.

Morton also said the changes will hopefully foster more cohesiveness between the men’s and women’s golf teams. 

“The programs didn’t intersect before,” Morton said. “In the past, we had the men’s program over here and the women’s program over here, and they just never really were together a lot.” 

Both coaches said they agree with Morton’s sentiment.

“We’re trying to create some synergy amongst the men and the women, which has been fun,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen has been a PGA Class A golf professional for more than 25 years and has earned countless awards for her teaching efforts, such as back-to-back NSIC Coach of the Year honors. Jorgensen first volunteered as an assistant coach under previous head coach Peggy Kirby for eight years. She then became the women’s head coach in 2020 when Kirby retired. Now, Jorgensen has taken on Augustana’s first director of golf position in addition to maintaining her role as women’s head coach. 

“She’s helped coach Kirby build a nationally competitive women’s golf program,” Morton said. “She’s a great teacher as well … I wanted to take Coralee’s skill set and have someone who was a director of golf who oversees both programs.”

Senior golfer Molly Stevens said Jorgensen’s new role will allow her to continue to cultivate and recruit “great athletes, great players and great human beings.” 

Jorgensen said the new director role includes taking on more administrative functions for the men’s and women’s teams in addition to recruitment.

“As director, I do a lot of the original work for recruiting,” Jorgensen said. “Not that we necessarily have to travel very far, but there’s the paperwork that has to be done, and getting them on campus so they can see what it’s all about — for the guys and the women.”

 Jorgensen will also manage both teams’ scheduling, travel logistics, apparel and supply orders. 

Krsnak, the new men’s head coach, has been a PGA professional for 28 years and has managed golf courses for 25 years. He took over for Danny Sinksen when Sinksen resigned to spend more time with family and his business. 

Krsnak also worked closely with Texas Wesleyan University’s golf program, his alma mater, which won a national championship in 2019. 

“We’re very fortunate to have him,” Jorgensen said. 

While he has decades of golf experience, Krsnak said this will be his first coaching job. 

“I’m excited for a new challenge,” Krsnak said.

Although Krsnak has not officially coached a collegiate team, Morton said he brings new experience and expertise. 

“He came across as a great teacher,” Morton said. “I mean, that’s what he’s done as a golf professional for the last twenty-some years.” 

Junior men’s golfer Cullen Johnson said Krsnak has been a valuable addition to the team. 

“Even though it’s his first time coaching, I think he’s done a great job so far of listening to what us as players want, as well as instilling his own values and ideas into our team as well,” Johnson said. 

With an additional director operating most of the administrative responsibilities, Morton said the men’s head coach is able to focus on teaching.

“Now he’s just able to coach,” Morton said. “He’s able to be a great teacher, help them get better competitively, essentially still be in charge of their travel, but it’s just not some of the administrative things. He can just focus on practice and competition and help recruit.”

Stevens and Johnson said the shift encourages more interaction between the two teams. 

“We do a lot more with the guys’ team now, practicing at the same time, practicing together, building a better relationship with that team, whereas in the past it hasn’t been like that,” Stevens said. 

Johnson said the two teams workout together twice a week at the Sanford Fieldhouse. 

“It’s been a very smooth transition,” Johnson said. “It’s just been great working with him so far, like it’s exceeded my expectations for sure.” 

Since classes started on Aug. 31 and the men’s first tournament on Sept. 6, Krsnak said he’s ready to spend more time with the team on the practice course. 

“We hit the ground running fast,” Krsnak said. “I started, [then] school started … It’s been nonstop ever since.”  

Nevertheless, Johnson said he’s already learned quite a bit from Krsnak.

“We were playing a tournament, and I was kind of struggling, and I was talking with him on a hole, and he kind of just told me exactly what I needed to hear to improve my mindset,” Johnson said.

In their first season in their new positions, coaches Krsnak and Jorgensen said they hope to create successful teams. Their goals go beyond just crafting competitive teams, though.

Krsnak said he wants to teach students valuable lessons that follow them long after their time at Augustana. 

“I’m a very competitive person, so I want us to compete for a championship,” Krsnak said. “I think you can learn a lot of life lessons from golf, and I hope I can put that on some of these younger kids, and hopefully they can learn from it.” 

Jorgensen said she sees golf as a way to lift up students.

“I think I’m always excited to travel with them and have them compete,” Jorgensen said. “A goal for us is to give the student athletes an experience that goes above and beyond golf. But we just simply use golf as our vehicle to teach life lessons and create great lives and good careers.”

The women’s golf team will host the Augustana Fall Regional Preview on Saturday, Oct. 8, and the men’s team will compete on Monday, Oct. 10, in the USF Invitational.

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