Newcomer Francisco guides women’s golf in successful fall season

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-Editor

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This June, the Bison women’s golf team welcomed head coach Lisa Francisco, the third head coach in the program’s 18-year history. Francisco was a part of one of the greatest accomplishments the Orange and Blue recorded this year: their victory at their home invitational.

Francisco began her career in golf at a young age, as she was introduced to it during high school in western Pennsylvania. Francisco was a three-time District 9 champion and two-time state medal winner. She competed in the No. 2 spot on the men’s team.

In order to continue her passion for golf, Francisco competed for four years at Penn State as a walk-on. She was named to the 1997 ECAC All-Conference Women’s Golf Team and played a key role in the team’s 1999 NCAA East Regional team. The 2000 alumna graduated with a degree in recreation and park management.

After playing in college, Francisco went on to work as an assistant golf professional at Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va., where she gave lessons and promoted golf to junior members.

Francisco’s coaching career began at William & Mary, where she was an assistant coach in 2004-2005 for three semesters. She then went on to caddie in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour for three years, where she worked with tour players on course management, providing moral support, and improving golf skills.

In her transition to the University, Francisco felt that this opportunity with the Bison would provide her with the best of both worlds, as the University boasts an excellent academic reputation and Division-I athletics. The Pennsylvania native was drawn to being close to her friends, family, and alma mater.

“It’s always been a career goal of mine to coach college golf. Being from Pennsylvania and being able to coach in the state was a huge draw for me as well,” Francisco said.

Francisco’s first season went off without a hitch, as the team tallied notable performances at each of their tournaments. Francisco reflected on the season, noting the season highlight to be winning the home invitational and seeing Lindsay Dodovich ’18 earn the individual title. Despite being brand new to the University, Francisco managed to make some changes to the program.

“The biggest thing I promote is a team atmosphere in an individual sport. I try to have as many team practices/workouts as possible. I work with each athlete in a one-on-one setting as well,” Francisco said.

Additionally, some of her coaching techniques rely on focusing on short game practice, such as chipping and putting. She also often references a quote by South African golfer Gary Player, reminding her golfers, “The more you practice, the luckier you get.”

The women’s golf team concluded its fall season Oct.23-24 after competing in the Lehigh Invitational. The team will resume play in their spring season.

Looking forward to the upcoming spring season, Francisco resorted to her general motto on the sport.

“I preach positivity and letting the negative outcomes go. Golf is not a game of perfect, and staying in the moment is crucial,” Francisco said.

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