GVSU Women’s Golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux quietly goes for ninth GLIAC Coach of the Year Award

GVL / Emily Frye    
 Women's golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux addresses the crowd prior to the start of the round on the tournament's second day on Sep. 27th.

GVL / Emily Frye Women's golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux addresses the crowd prior to the start of the round on the tournament's second day on Sep. 27th.

Sean Cauvet, Sports Writer

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“Now that I have some more experience, I’m realizing that I didn’t know anything when I was in my twenties. I’m glad someone saw something in me back then, but sometimes I wonder how I even coached a team back then.”

That is where Grand Valley State University Women’s golf head coach Rebecca Mailloux started out. As of summer 2019, she has won the GLIAC Coach of the Year Award eight out of the last 11 years, including this past season.

However, Mailloux says that success did not happen overnight. After she graduated college, she spent a few years trying to make it as a professional golfer, but it was not working out.

Mailloux says that the Adam Sandler movie “Happy Gilmore” does a good job showing what the life of a professional golfer entails; only the top two to three players win money, putting heavy pressure on golfers to perform.

“When you are a professional golfer, everything is about you,” Mailloux said. “You have to be selfish or you won’t make it. That’s eventually why I quit being a professional golfer. I wasn’t finding any satisfaction or fulfillment in it anymore.”

Mailloux said that she didn’t have an “epiphany moment” when she made the switch to coaching, she just found herself watching other people’s techniques and trying to help them more than focusing on her own game.

At 23 years old, Mailloux quit professional golf to be the head women’s golf coach at Saint Leo University.

“My former college coach at South Florida’s husband was the men’s head golf coach at Saint Leo,” Mailloux said. “I sat down with him and he convinced me to go for the job and I got it. Overall, I liked coaching at Saint Leo, but I was only part-time and didn’t have the resources to be successful.”

At Saint Leo, Mailloux had access to 0.25 scholarships. Currently at GVSU, she has access to 5.4 scholarships to give out, the maximum amount for a DII school.

Mailloux said her goal as a coach is always to be in the National Championship, but for her it’s more than that.

“I know what the girls will remember more than anything are the memories we make when we go on these tournament trips,” Mailloux said. “They may not be happy that we go on hikes or other excursions, but those are things they will remember, not the wins and losses.”

Former GVSU women’s golfer Mackenzie Blomberg said Mailloux’s best coaching trait is how much she cares about the players she’s working with.

“Being with her all of my four years here, she taught me so much,” Blomberg said. “She genuinely cares about each player and just knowing that made such a difference for me and my confidence level.”

The players aren’t the only ones that are benefiting from Mailloux’s coaching, as she loves getting to see these student athletes improve as golfers and mature as women.

“For me, it’s not all about the coaching,” Mailloux said. “I get like seeing these girls develop over their college careers and become better people. The most rewarding feeling is when I see alumni that I coached that are out in the world doing great things and being able to look back and feel like I had a positive impact on their lives.”

This past season, the GVSU women’s golf team finished in 14th place in the Women’s Golf NCAA Tournament in May. Next year, they retain four of five starters and look to build upon the success of last season as Mailloux enters her 12th season at GVSU and looks to earn her ninth career GLIAC Coach of the Year Award.