Meet Angie Cates -- Fresno State's New Women's Golf Coach
April 21, 2004
By Kenyonte Dyer, Fresno State Media Relations
Angie Cates, Fresno State's new head women's golf coach, has experience as a golf coach and in the professional world.
Prior to her arrival at Fresno State in December, Cates was an assistant coach for the men's and women's golf teams at Oregon State for three years with each team advancing to the NCAA Regionals in 2003. Before her coaching debut, Cates played professionally on numerous tours and was an associate producer for The Golf Channel. While earning her degree in communications at Washington State University in 1998, Cates garnered Academic All-American honors three times while playing golf for the Cougars.
Successful coach ... player ... producer ... student-athlete ... Cates is familiar with the golf world. And with her wealth of knowledge, the questions about her upcoming inaugural season whirl around her every day.
How will Fresno State's first women's golf team do in the 2004-2005 season? Will Fresno State have a good recruiting class entering its inaugural season? How long will it take Fresno State to win the Western Athletics Conference championship?
The questions do not seem to stop for the rookie Bulldog coach who left her position as assistant coach for the Beavers midyear to become the head coach of Fresno State's newest sport. For Cates, some of the answers are quite simple.
"I do feel bad for leaving Oregon State in the middle of the season, but it was something I could not pass up," said Cates. "Fresno State is a great school and the athletics program is taken very seriously."
It is the transition from assistant coach to head coach that gets a little more complicated.
"Being an assistant coach prepared me for the administrative side of being a head coach," Cates said. "At Oregon State, I did a lot of the dirty work and so being able to call the shots is really going to be exciting. It is going to put pressure on me because if the team does well or does bad, the fingers are going to be pointed at me," Cates said.
Cates has plenty of playing experience that will benefit the golf team at Fresno State. As a professional and as an amateur, she has been there before. She knows what they go through.
And her experience in the television industry with the producers and professional golfers she came in contact with will also give her a well-rounded, forward-looking perspective toward the future of her team and the sport.
"After leaving college, I worked for The Golf Channel, which was good because I helped the producers of the tournament crew for the LPGA," Cates said. "That helped me deal with professional golfers on a weekly basis. As a result, I have professional golfers that are friends of mine and so I can pick their minds when I need something."
The friends she keeps will surely aid Cates in her recruiting knowledge and abilities. And until the inaugural season begins, the biggest questions being asked of the head coach by the community revolve around her recruiting class. Cates will mainly focus on California and the West Coast when it comes to recruiting future Bulldogs. She estimates 90 percent of the team will hail from California with a number of the golfers coming from not only the Valley but from throughout the state.
"Our freshman class is going to be solid," said Cates. "We also have a few transfers coming here too, which should help the program. I think we are going to do better than a lot of people expect.
"I know there are going to be bumps in the road, but I think we will have a good year," said Cates. "We are going to try to win the WAC championship this year but Tulsa has a good program that has been around for years. Winning the WAC tournament and getting to the postseason will be our number one goal."
According to Cates, the biggest obstacle for the team is going to be chemistry. Golf is a different sport that works a little differently than other collegiate sports.
"Golfers grow up playing an individual sport all by themselves and when you throw them out there as a team, it's kind of hard for them," said Cates. "None of the women have played together. There is going to be a senior coming in that might feel like a freshman because it is a new place for her. Everyone is going to be on the same level because they don't know each other, so building the team chemistry is going to be very important," Cates said.
As the newest sport to Fresno State, Cates is in a unique position as a first-year head coach. In addition to the responsibilities of recruiting and making sure that the team is a well-blended concoction of talent, Cates will attempt to set a standard of excellence for the women's golf program. The men's golf program, led by long-time head coach Mike Watney, will serve as a successful model for Cates' squad. In his 26th year at Fresno State, Watney has helped Cates transition into her new role; a role that she is eager to take on.
"It's huge," Cates said. "Knowing that I get to make the record books definitely is exciting. I have very high expectations for the team and myself, and I see a lot of success in our future."