South Carolina Adds Two International Players During Early Signing Period
Dreher, Schmelzel finish in top 10 to lead the way
Dreher, Schmelzel, Lee shoot 74s to lead the way Saturday
Dreher leads the way with a 2-over 74
Carolina tees off at 1:22 p.m. CDT in Birmingham, Ala.
The Gamecocks in the first round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
NCAA West Regional - Round 1 - Stanford Golf Course at Stanford, Calif.
2012 NCAA Championship - Third Round
2012 NCAA East Regional - State College, Pa.
"I am dedicated to building a championship program at the University of South Carolina," Harris said. "The Gamecock women's golf team is committed to achieving short-game and scoring game excellence, and our much of our practice time reflects this goal. I also place a strong emphasis on building individual relationships and finding what motivates players on an individual level. I focus on individual skill development within a competitive, supportive team environment. I bring intensity to practices and training, while also creating a structure that allows players to lead a balanced life as a student-athlete." - Kalen Harris
Kalen Harris enters her seventh year as the head coach of the South Carolina women's golf team on the heels of four straight NCAA Championship appearances.
South Carolina tabbed Harris to mentor its program in January 2008. She joined the Gamecocks after two years as an assistant at Duke, where she had an All-American career as a player, and a four-year stint as a professional on the FUTURES Tour.
And her philosophy on coaching has led to immediate success for the Carolina program.
"I am dedicated to building a championship program at the University of South Carolina," Harris said. "The Gamecock women's golf team is committed to achieving short-game and scoring game excellence, and our much of our practice time reflects this goal. I also place a strong emphasis on building individual relationships and finding what motivates players on an individual level. I focus on individual skill development within a competitive, supportive team environment. I bring intensity to practices and training, while also creating a structure that allows players to lead a balanced life as a student-athlete."
In six seasons at South Carolina, Harris has overseen a seamless, successful transition from the previous coaching staff, highlighted by the program's first regional title at the 2010 NCAA East Regional. In addition, two players have earned All-America accolades, equaling the number of All-Americans in program history prior to her arrival.
Under Harris, the Gamecocks have won two NCAA East Regional titles (2010, 2012) and have advanced to five NCAA Championships in six seasons; the program had appeared in the NCAA Championship a total of eight times since 1980 before her arrival in 2008.
Last season Harris and the Gamecocks didn't let the loss of two key pieces to the lineup slow down the program's success. South Carolina made a charge at the SEC Championship and finished in third place, the program's highest finishes since winning the event in 2002. The Gamecocks carried the momentum to the NCAA West Regional, where they finished fourth to secure their fourth-straight NCAA Championship berth. With a lineup of a senior, a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen, the Gamecocks finished 20th at the NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga.
In 2011-12 Harris guided the Gamecocks to new heights as South Carolina claimed the 2012 NCAA East Regional title in State College, Pa., and went on to finish fifth at the NCAA Championship in Franklin, Tenn., which is the best finish in program history at the national championship. Katie Burnett led the way with a fifth-place showing, the best ever by a Gamecock at the event. Burnett wrapped up her career with a scoring average of 74.18, which ranks first all-time at South Carolina, as she earned second team All-America honors from both Golfweek and the National Golf Coaches Association.
What was thought to be a rebuilding year in 2011 - one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen comprised the entire Carolina roster - turned into unforeseen success as the Gamecocks battled through being shipped to the West Coast for their NCAA Regional to finish in sixth place and earn their third NCAA Championship berth in four years. Suzie Lee and Samantha Swinehart led the charge at the West Regional in Auburn, Wash., tying for 15th place after battling through cold, wind and rain for three days. The team would finish in 18th place at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, setting the stage for what could be a very strong 2011-12 campaign.
The 2010 season was a banner year for Harris and the Gamecocks, capped by the team's second NCAA Championship appearance in three years where they earned a tie for 14th place. This followed Burnett's and the Gamecocks' triumph at the NCAA East Regional in Greenville, N.C., where Burnett earned medalist honors in leading Carolina to its first regional title.
In 2009, her first full season at Carolina, the team grew together as the season progressed and earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional in Gainesville, Fla. Highlighting the year was Benedicte Toumpsin's tie for medalist honors at the LSU Golf Classic and the emergence of a freshman star in Burnett.
Her first season in 2008, Harris guided the Gamecocks into the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2003. Team leader Toumpsin earned third-team All-America status from Golfweek and an honorable mention All-America nod from the National Golf Coaches Association, becoming South Carolina's first All-American since Kristy McPherson earned the honor for the third time in her career in 2003.
Harris joined the staff of Duke's Hall of Fame head coach Dan Brooks in the spring of 2006 and helped the Blue Devils to their second-straight national title. Duke went on to add a third title in 2007. Duke also claimed back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference championships in her time on staff. Harris was the designated coach during several tournaments and saw four Blue Devils earn All-America status in 2006, including three first-team selections.
"In coaching, we work on skills and techniques during practice, so when we get to tournament play, my major role is to help players keep a positive attitude and stay in the right frame of mind to let their hard work and talent shine," Harris said. "In addition to being a resource to help players make smart decisions during competition, I like to use humor to keep them loose while also pushing them toward productivity."
Outside of tournament play, Harris focused on short game, course management and mental coaching with her players. She helped three-time All-ACC selection Jennifer Pandolfi raise her short game from 431st in the nation in December 2005 to 84th in April 2007, while her chipping stats improved from 341st to 15th over the same period. Additionally, Harris helped personalize fitness plans for players and actively participated in team workouts.
Off the course, Harris was just as involved with shaping college players. At Duke, she assisted in arranging community service opportunities and monitored academic progress. She designed practices and skill sets, arranged team travel, ordered and managed equipment and uniforms, and assisted in fundraising projects for the Blue Devils. Harris also worked hard as a recruiter, evaluating top-ranked prospects on the state, national and international level. Organizing and leading recruiting visits, she helped the Blue Devils land the top golfer in the class of 2008.
"I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by Coach Brooks and be part of an elite program both as a player and a coach," Harris said. "My many experiences at Duke have taught me how to keep players motivated, excited about golf and focused on attaining their goals. I will draw on that experience to help build South Carolina women's golf into a championship program."
Prior to her start in coaching, Harris played golf professionally from 2001 through 2005. She played a total of 56 events on the FUTURES Tour, recording her best finish at the 2002 Florida Hospital FUTURES Golf Classic in SeBring, Fla., where she tied for fourth. Harris also participated in four LPGA Qualifying Schools and played in the 2000 U.S. Women's Open. While playing, she also worked to network and generate sponsorships to support her career, raising $120,000 of capital.
Harris kicked off her college career by earning Atlantic Coast Conference co-Rookie of the Year honors in 1998. Playing in the NCAA Championship all four years of her career, she helped the Blue Devils to their first national title in 1999, finishing 12th in the individual standings. She captured All-ACC and Academic All-America honors that year, a feat she would repeat over the remaining two years of her career. With the nation's top-rated total short game in 2000, Harris picked up second-team All-America status. Finishing ninth in the NCAA Regional in 2000, she was the Blue Devils' top finisher at the NCAA Championship, claiming 21st place. In all, Harris collected 16 top-10 finishes in her career, including the individual title in the 2001 Liz Murphey Intercollegiate.
A native of Edina, Minn., Harris earned her bachelor's degree in psychology with a certificate in markets and management from Duke in 2001. She is engaged to Deuce Harris of Durham, N.C., a former wrestler at Duke University.
The Harris FileCoaching Career
2008-present: Head Coach, University of South Carolina
2006-07: Assistant Coach, Duke University