By Josh Howald
It is always interesting to get a look at things from another perspective.
Taylor Schmidt in action last season with Oklahoma University. (File photo)
That's just what Taylor Schmidt has been doing this season at the University of Oklahoma.
The Kincardine native wrapped up her final year of NCAA eligibility last season, but is still an important member of the Sooners golf squad. She is currently completing her first year of Graduate School at OU, working towards her Masters in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, a two-year program.
The Sooners just dominated the Big 12 Championship in Austin, Texas last weekend and are off to the east coast for the NCAA West Regional Championships. Oklahoma won the Big 12 tournament by 17 strokes, led by Chirapat Jao-Javanil's individual tournament title.
"Big 12 champs, it is exciting," said Schmidt on Friday. "I've really enjoyed this season, especially being that it is a new position for me. The adjustment was hard at first, and it still is at times, but I'm getting to interact with a bunch of NCAA coaches, which is so beneficial for me."
Schmidt has always had one eye on becoming a coach, and is spending this summer in Oklahoma to coach at several various golf camps and clinics. She will complete her Masters next year while working with the OU golf program, and perhaps begin looking for a head coaching job herself.
"I kind of always knew I wanted to coach, and this year just reaffirmed that for me," she said. "seeing what my coaches here do at OU on a day-to-day basis and the behind the scenes stuff they do is exactly what I hope to be doing one day."
Schmidt travels with her former teammates, and drives the golf cart between OU's five competing players on tournament days. She supplies them with statistics and scores, as well as keeping them hydrated and supplied with food. She takes the other coaches where they need to be on the course. When the team is at home, she works with the booster club, does paperwork and attends coaching compliance meetings and helps with the maintenance of the facility.
So in her first year away from competing, she hasn't been bored.
"This year has been incredibly helpful for me, I have picked up so much knowledge," she said.
The Sooners are the #3 seed at the NCAA West Regional, which opens tomorrow at Tumble Creek Golf Course at Suncadia Resort. The 24-team event, hosted by the University of Washington, is one of three 54-hole preliminary events for the NCAA Championship finals. The low eight teams and two low individuals not on a qualifying team from each tournament move on to the finals. The NCAA finals will be at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma beginning on May 20.
Last year in her senior year, Schmidt helped the Sooners to a second place finish at the NCAA Central Regional and qualify for the NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia, where they finished ninth.
She isn't quite done competing yet. She will make a quick stop home in Kincardine in late July, and then head south once again to compete in a handful of tournaments, including the US Amateur Championships.