"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 will enter her 12th year as the head coach of the South Carolina women's golf team this fall on the heels of eight NCAA Championship appearances in the last nine years and five NCAA 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 11 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, eight players have earned All-America accolades, which is more than double the number of All-Americans in program history prior to her arrival.
In five of the last six years, South Carolina has boasted multiple All-Americans after accomplishing the feat for the first time in 2014.
Under Anderson, the Gamecocks have won four NCAA Regional titles (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017) and have advanced to nine NCAA Championships in 10 seasons; the program had appeared in the NCAA Championship a total of eight times since 1980 before her arrival in 2008.
The Gamecocks produced their best statistical season ever during their 2017-18 campaign. Carolina set program single-season records for stroke average (289.72) and rounds of par or better (13) and posted two of the school's lowest 54-hole totals during the year. Individually, senior Ainhoa Olarra posted the lowest single-season scoring average (71.00) in school history and racked up five top-five finishes.
Anderson's team notched five top-five showings and opened the spring with a victory at the 2018 Florida State Match-Up after totaling an 848 (-16), the program's third-best three-round mark.
Carolina saved its best golf for the 2018 SEC Championship, where it finished first in the stroke-play portion before collecting runner-up honors for the tournament. The Gamecocks bested the field by five strokes in stroke play, finishing ahead of No. 2 ranked Alabama and third-ranked Arkansas. Carolina notched a pair of match-play victories before falling to the Razorbacks in the championship contest.
Olarra also shined at the SEC Championship, as the senior captured the individual title at the event after defeating Arkansas' Maria Fassi in a playoff. The win was the second of the spring for the San Sebastian, Spain, native, who finished atop the leaderboard at the 2018 Florida State Match-Up. Olarra, one of three golfers to notch multiple wins in a single season, earned a spot on the ANNIKA Award Watch List and collected All-America honors from the WGCA and Golfweek.
The Gamecocks made their 20th-straight NCAA postseason appearance in 2018, as they were selected as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA San Francisco Regional. Carolina placed 10th at the event, while Olarra and sophomore Lois Kaye Go tied for 27th individually to narrowly miss a too-25 showing. The Gamecocks, who were ranked inside the top 15 throughout the spring, ended the season listed at No. 11 in the final Golfstat poll.
Anderson's squad again peaked in the NCAA postseason in 2017, capturing the NCAA Columbus Regional Title that spring to earn its third-straight regional championship. Then-freshman Ana Pelaez paced Carolina in the victory and grabbed her first collegiate medalist honors along the way after totaling a 216 (E). Katelyn Dambaugh and Olarra also placed inside the top five for the Gamecocks, which rallied from eight shots back to finish atop the leaderboard on the final day.
The Gamecocks produced a solid showing at the 2017 NCAA Championship, earning the program's fourth top-10 finish (10th) at the event. Olarra's strong postseason played continued, and the San Sebastain, Spain, native tied for 10th at Rich Harvest Farms. Her performance marked the fifth-best individual showing in school history, and Olarra capped off her spring with All-America Honorable Mention accolades from the WGCA and Golfweek.
South Carolina reaffirmed its place among the nation's elite during the 2015-16 season following a historic postseason run. Jumpstarted by a program-record 277 (-11) in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, the Gamecocks claimed their second-straight regional title. South Carolina carried that momentum into the 2016 NCAA Championship, where it reached match play for the first time in school history. The Gamecocks' fifth-place finish matched their best showing at the NCAA Championship, and their 1162 stroke-play score at Eugene Country Club was the program's lowest 72-hole score ever.
Dambaugh turned in one of the finest years in program history in 2015-16, setting school records for single-season stroke average (71.62) and most top-five finishes (6) by a junior. She matched South Carolina's then-low 54-hole mark (207) twice, including at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional when she claimed her first collegiate medalist honors. Dambaugh and Sarah Schmelzel both garnered All-America honors for the Gamecocks, who posted the fourth-lowest single-season stroke average (294.19) in program history.
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 File
Coaching Career 2008-present: Head Coach, University of South Carolina 2006-07: Assistant Coach, Duke University
Instructional Background 2001-present: Instructor, Private clients and various clinics
Playing Career 2001-05: FUTURES Tour, LPGA Qualifying School 2000: Competed in U.S. Women's Open 1997-2001: Duke women's golf team
Playing Accolades NGCA Second-Team All-American (2000) All-Atlantic Coast Conference (1999, 2000, 2001) ACC Co-Rookie of the Year (1998) Academic All-America (1999, 2000, 2001) Liz Murphey Intercollegiate Individual Champion (2001) NCAA Team National Champion (1999) ACC Team Champion (2001, 2000, 1999, 1998)
Education Bachelor of arts in psychology, certificate in markets and management, Duke University, 2001