There was a time not that long ago when Long Beach State only had a handful of female coaches on campus, but that trend has been bucked on purpose by Athletic Director Andy Fee. Since arriving in 2017, Fee has hired or promoted five new coaches for women’s sports and four of them have been female.
The latest addition is new women’s golf coach Alyssa Waite. The Southern California native had been an assistant coach at San Diego State for the last three years and this is her first head coaching job.
“Ultimately we want to hire the best person, but with lots of great female candidates out there we really do want to expand opportunities for female coaches,” Fee said. “That’s something that maybe we always haven’t done a great job, but we want to do a better job. Alyssa is the best coach in terms of our candidate pool, and it’s great that she happens to be female.”
“I’m very excited,” Waite said. “It was a head coach opportunity but also with the recent success, it does bring some publicity to the school allowing me to bring in a different caliber of athlete.”
Waite is replacing Joey Cerulle, who was let go by LBSU in May after 13 seasons at the helm. Cerulle was back-to-back Big West Coach of the Year two years ago while producing three consecutive Big West individual conference champions and winning a team championship.
Fee said he went to the NCAA Regional at Stanford Golf Course and the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., to find the right coach. Someone had told him about Waite, and Fee added that he was very impressed with how thorough Waite is on the course.
“I wanted to just watch her to see how she went about her business and I was pretty impressed by what I saw and how she communicated with her student athletes,” Fee said.
Fee specifically pointed out how Waite tracked the hardest par 3 on the course during the NCAA competition and how she coached her team up on that tee box.
“My biggest thing is that it’s their game,” Waite said. “They make all of the decisions, but I’m there to assist them to make the best decision. I want them to feel confident in every shot they hit and whatever decision they make. Everyone is different. Some of them want to talk about anything that doesn’t have to do with golf, and some of them want to talk about the next shot.”
Before helping San Diego State win a Mountain West Championship and reach the NCAA Regional, Waite was a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater Portland State. She said watching big programs like USC and UCLA bolster their rosters with international talent influenced her to do the same and recruit outside of America at SDSU, and that she wants to bring that strategy to LBSU.
“They just have a different training regiment,” Waite said of international golfers. “They have a lot of national teams that they work with so they come in pretty polished and experienced. A big part of it is having relationships with the national coaches. A lot of international kids want to come to the States and in Long Beach we have a great facility and town to offer them.”
Waite was actually recruited by LBSU when she was a student-athlete and had seen Virginia Country Club and El Dorado Golf Course before taking a tour last month.
“She has a great reputation and her background and success in helping to build a championship program at San Diego State has prepared her for this opportunity,” Fee said. “Her recruiting network both in California and the international golf community makes her a perfect fit to lead at the Beach.”
“I am looking forward to taking this team to a consistent regional bid with the addition of self-motivated, hardworking, competitive individuals that provide a good team environment,” Waite said.
LBSU is scheduled to start its season at Gonzaga’s event in Washington on Sept. 18-21.
The defending Big West Conference champions have also been busy this summer. Wilson High alum and senior Tyler Schafer is headed to the USGA Amateur at Oakmont Country Club on Aug. 9-15. He qualified at Valencia Country Club earlier this month with rounds of 66 and 70.
Three weeks ago, Clay Seeber won the 122nd SCGA Amateur Championship at Virginia Country Club by six strokes. He held off Long Beach native and SCGA Player of the Year Tory Edwards, as well as Jack Cantlay who is the younger brother of PGA golfer Patrick Cantlay.