Women’s golf coach Alexis Mihelich was hired in August, and she said it made recruiting for the 2012-2013 season difficult.
“Mostly, all of the really top, best regional players were already verbally committed,” Mihelich said. “So I just had to be really selective in making sure that the ones that weren’t already signed or verbally committed would be the right fit for me, the university, the team.”
Mihelich signed three golfers for the 2012-13 season: Mattie Linder, Whitney Nugent and Morgan Reimler. Mihelich said she’s excited about her first recruiting class members and the value they’ll bring to the golf program.
“These ladies are my first signees as a Saluki, and what I like most is their dedication, motivation and drive to become really solid athletes in their sport,” Mihelich said.
Mattie Linder is from Lebanon, Ind., where she was a four-year first team All-South Conference selection and three-time scholar-athlete at Lebanon High School. She was also a two-time conference medalist and three-time sectional medalist in her career, according to the Saluki Athletics website.
Lebanon High School qualified for the state championships in 2010 and 2011 with Linder. She also made the 2010 Indiana All-State team with a 74.14 average. Linder helped lead her team to four straight conference and sectional championships.
During Linder’s senior year, she was the first women’s golfer in Lebanon High School history to advance to the second round of the IHSAA championships. She had a 75.2 average in her senior season.
Nugent is from nearby Harrisburg and transfered from John A. Logan College, where she held a 82.8 average and had two top 10 finishes including a tournament-best at the Triton Invite hosted by University of Missouri-St. Louis where she shot a 77-75 in 2011.
In high school, Nugent help lead her team to a Southern Illinois River-to-River conference championship and received All-South honors in 2009. She was also an IHSA state qualifier who placed second at the regional tournament in 2009.
Reimler, of Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo., is a three-time all-district selection and led her team to a top-five finish in three seasons on the varsity squad.
Reimler helped her high school team to her school’s first state title in 2011 and placed third overall individually, and she helped the team finish fifth and fourth in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
“I am enthusiastic to coach these players and look forward to their contributions and development,” Mihelich said.
Athletic Director Mario Moccia said during Mihelich’s interview process, he was impressed with her vision for SIU’s golf program.
“She is committed to helping young women become the best they can be — academically, socially and competitively on the golf course,” he said.
SIU gives the NCAA-maximum six scholarships to their women’s golf program while Chicago State usually only gives out four, Mihelich said. With a more supportive program, Moccia said Mihelich is confident enough to thrive at SIU.
Deputy Athletic Director Chet Savage said the committee for Saluki Athletics conducted a national search and Mihelich was finalist who stood out from the rest. He said she’s a good addition to SIU’s athletic program and will bring in some valuable players.
“She had good things going at Chicago State with seemingly little resources,” Savage said. “In our discussions, we could tell that she had a passion for golf and for coaching. She was really a no-brainer.”
Mihelich said coaches usually do the recruiting and the athletic department provide background checks on players, but full-ride and partial scholarships are determined based on players’ abilities and value to team progression.
Mihelich said she looks forward to her new recruits’ arrivals and hopes to win championships in the upcoming season.