Alumnus will lead golf team

New golf head coach Terry Shaffer says the GW administration has been very welcoming since his hiring last week – helping him to get settled, showing him the ropes of the athletics department and even letting him into his office.

Which is important, because he has yet to receive a key.

“In the meantime, it’s nice to have an office,” Shaffer said, comparing this coaching job to his last. “At Mount St. Mary’s I had a little cubicle.”

The turnaround has been quick for Shaffer, who was officially announced as head coach just last week following the departure of Scott Allen. When Allen accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, Shaffer, a 1979 alumnus and former GW golf team MVP, sent him a congratulatory e-mail. He said he was surprised when Allen responded by asking if Shaffer would be interested in becoming his successor.

“I wrote back and said ‘absolutely,'” Shaffer recalled with a smile.

The application and interview process was then underway and soon Shaffer had the job. “It all happened really fast,” he said. That’s probably because it needed to – the Navy Fall Invitational, GW’s first fall competition, begins Friday.

From there it was time to get acquainted with the Colonials he will coach. Shaffer, a professional golf instructor and former PGA head golf professional, said he first met the team last Tuesday and has been observing their technique in practice since.

“I don’t know them real well yet, but I can tell you that I think it’s going to be a great team,” he said. “I’ve already been out there; I’ve looked at their swings.”

While Shaffer and the team have yet to forge the bonds of familiarity commonly shared between coaches and players, he said things have been good so far.

“Right now I can tell you I’m having a great time with them,” Shaffer said. “I have a great rapport with all of them so far, and I think that’s probably going to stay that way.”

The two parties will continue to get to know each other this weekend in Annapolis, which Shaffer said will serve as part of an evaluation process to determine the “pecking order” of the squad. It will be one less thing Shaffer has to figure out in a new position that requires serious organization.

“I think that’s probably the biggest conflict,” he said. “Trying to work schedules around practice time or working practice time around schedules – it’s not always the easiest thing to do.”

But Shaffer is trying to accommodate all he can, preaching academics as paramount. He says he wants to see his players succeed in all facets of their lives, beyond just golf.

“I want to bring some motivation,” he said. “I’m not trying to change anybody.”

One thing he will be changing is his office, which still bears the decorative preferences of his predecessor. That transition, Shaffer said, should begin soon enough.

“It actually begins as soon as he gives me that key,” he said. And from there, the office, like the program, will be all his.

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