Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ashley Prange 'Breaks' into Coaching

For an aspiring women’s golf coach, a résumé that includes earning First Team All America at a major program and capturing multiple victories on the Duramed FUTURES Tour would separate most from the pack, but when one can add “Champion – 'The Big Break'" and are willing to serve in a volunteer role, a spot on the staff can easily be created.

Such a résumé presented itself to Stetson head coach Floyd Kerr in the form of UNC standout Ashley Prange. In the spring of 2006, following her career as a Tar Heel, she won “The Big Break – Hawaii” – a golf skills reality show that aired on The Golf Channel. In the time since the show, in addition to her wins in the Duramed FUTURES Tour, she became engaged to the former Stetson standout turned professional baseball player Brian Snyder, bringing the native of California by way of Indiana to the central Florida market.

“When I moved in with Brian, he bought a house in DeLand, so I was looking for something to do on my off days, so I actually approached Coach [Kerr] while I was living in DeLand to see if they wanted my help,” Prange said. “I had to twist his arm a little bit, but I think so far he’s pretty enthused.”

“We talked twice towards the end of the fall season, and kind of decided what her role would be,” Kerr said. “She’s still travelling, but she’s been available as much as she can. She’s been available at the course and she’s played a lot with the kids which gives them something to look at as far as someone that’s playing at a level beyond where they are so I think that’s been a real plus.”

Even before taking the coaching role, Prange could be seen at the Hatters’ home course, Victoria Hills, working on her game. However, not all members of the Hatters immediately knew of Prange’s exploits upon introduction to the team.

“It took some research because I did not watch the show,” senior Danielle Jackson said. “But as soon as I heard she was on ‘The Big Break’ I knew exactly who she was.”

Prange’s father Bob, served as her coach, in addition to teaching at courses in Indiana and Florida. In her first year as a coach, she has already picked up on some of his tendencies and traits.

"I have learned that I’m actually a tough-love coach,” she said. “I’m a little bit more strict and firm. I have learned that about myself. I think that’s my ‘type A’ personality coming out.”

Off the course, Prange’s influence has been seen in terms of the workout program used by the Hatters.

“She’s helped us with out workouts; she’s really into the fitness [aspect],” Jackson said. “She’s emphasized using the core, working on the abs and lower body, not a whole lot of weights, but more like swiss ball type of things.”

An added benefit of Prange’s presence on the staff comes in recruiting. Kerr has taken notice how potential future Hatters react when he brings up the other coaches those players might be working with, should they sign to play for Stetson.

“It’s been pretty interesting, where I’ve recruited this year and I talk about Ashley and Jeff Schmid, who’s our other assistant, then her name and ‘The Big Break’ is still very much on the forefront with the girls who are playing junior golf."

Having just competed at the Daytona Beach Invitational at the LPGA International-Champions Course last week, Prange remains active on the professional scene. However, might she have found a career path when it comes time to call the playing career quits?

“I’ve had a bunch of people ask me that question ‘would you want to get into coaching’ and I think it could be in my future, but we’ll see,” Prange said.

Though perhaps biased, she has a couple of strong supporters in both Jackson and Kerr

“I think she would make an excellent coach, I really do and I think she will after she decides to [put away] the clubs,” Jackson said. “I think she would definitely be a great coach somewhere at the college level.”

“She’s done this to see if she wants to get involved in college coaching and I think she will make somebody a real nice coach,” Kerr said. “She’s really positive, she’s a go-getter and she’s young, so I think if she wants to [coach], whatever she’s going to do, she’s going to be successful.”

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