"I am dedicated to building a championship program at the University of South Carolina. 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 Anderson
Kalen Anderson enters her ninth year as the head coach of the South Carolina women's golf team on the heels of six-straight NCAA Championship appearances and three NCAA East Regional titles since 2010.
South Carolina tabbed Anderson 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.
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," Anderson 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 eight seasons at South Carolina, Anderson 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, five players have earned All-America accolades, which is more than double the number of All-Americans in program history prior to her arrival. Two of those four players were tabbed All-Americans in 2014, marking the first time two Gamecocks were named All-Americans in the same season. South Carolina repeated the feat, also garnering a pair of All-America certificates in the 2014-15 season.
Under Anderson, the Gamecocks have won three NCAA East Regional titles (2010, 2012, 2015) and have advanced to seven NCAA Championships in eight seasons; the program had appeared in the NCAA Championship a total of eight times since 1980 before her arrival in 2008. The Gamecocks are now one of just five teams to go to the last six NCAA Championships.
South Carolina followed up a historic 2013-14 by raising the standard in 2014-15. Kicking off the season by capturing the inaugural ANNIKA Intercollegiate crown, the Gamecocks earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking from both Golfstat and Golfweek. In four fall events, South Carolina captured two team titles (ANNIKA Intercollegiate, Mercedes-Benz Collegaite), produced two individual medalists (Justine Dreher, ANNIKA Intercollegiate; Nanna Madsen, Mercedes-Benz Collegiate) and did not fall out of the top three at a tournament. During the spring, the Gamecocks ran their streak of regular-season stoke play top-five finishes to 15, and for the second year in a row, South Carolina was the runner-up at SEC Championships. As a reward for their historic season, the Gamecocks were given the program's first No. 1 seed for the NCAA Regional round and went on to capture the NCAA East Regional title. The win solidified the program's sixth-straight NCAA Championship appearance and gave the Gamecocks a school-record 10 top-five finishes on the season. South Carolina finished the season ranked No. 6 in both polls.
For leading her team to unprecedented accomplishments, Anderson was named SEC Coach of the Year for the 2014-15 season, her first honor and just the second in South Carolina women's golf history. She now owns seven tournament wins, the most by a head coach in program history. A pair of Gamecocks also earned All-SEC honors, and Justine Dreher became the program's third First-Team All-American and its second SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The 2013-14 season was undoubtedly one of the most successful campaigns in program history. Anderson led the Gamecocks to nine consecutive top-five finishes, including two tournament titles. South Carolina made their fifth-straight NCAA Championship appearance and was one of only seven teams to compete in the last five national championships. The Gamecocks appeared in their 16th consecutive NCAA Regional and turned in a second place finish. South Carolina made a charge at the SEC Championship and finished in second, marking the program's highest finish since winning the event in 2002. Three Gamecocks earned All-SEC honors after the 2013-14 campaign and two of those golfers were also named All-Americans.
During the 2012-13 season, Anderson and the Gamecocks didn't let the loss of two key pieces to the line up slow down the program's success. South Carolina finished in third place at the SEC Championship and then carried that momentum to the NCAA West Regional, where they finished fourth and secured a berth to the NCAA Championship.
In 2011-12 Anderson 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 Anderson 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, Anderson 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. Anderson 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. Anderson 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," Anderson 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."
"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," Anderson 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, Anderson 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. Anderson 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.
Anderson 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, Anderson 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, Anderson collected 16 top-10 finishes in her career, including the individual title in the 2001 Liz Murphey Intercollegiate.
A native of Edina, Minn., Anderson earned her bachelor's degree in psychology with a certificate in markets and management from Duke in 2001.
The Anderson FileCoaching Career
2008-present: Head Coach, University of South Carolina
2006-07: Assistant Coach, Duke University