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Former Texas State legend Akers on his way toward a women’s golf rebuild

Former Texas State legend Akers on his way toward a women’s golf rebuild

September 21
19:01 2017

In his second season at the helm of the program, Michael Akers is looking to put the Mean Green women’s golf team on the map.

Akers began his tenure as the head coach at North Texas last spring after 10 successful seasons calling the shots at Texas State University. He is considered one of the best coaches in the Bobcats’ history, having led the team to six NCAA tournament appearances while also winning three conference championships.

Leaving the San Marcos area was not necessarily a move he was searching for, but the opportunity at North Texas proved to be too good to be true in the end.

“I really wasn’t too anxious to leave where I was at,” Akers said. “I loved Texas State and was going to build a house in San Marcos – but when I came and saw the campus [in Denton] as well as looked up the school’s academics and the new golf facility, I got excited.”

The new facility Akers mentioned, the Maridoe Golf Club, opened its doors for member play July 22 and is thought to be one of the best facilities in the country. Maridoe will fully host both the men’s and women’s golf teams in the near future.

When he arrived on campus last year, Akers wasted no time in scheduling tough competition. This year, the Mean Green will play their toughest schedule in school history, which speaks to Akers’ competitive nature.

“We are going to be playing the Texas’ and the Oklahoma’s of the world, and we are going to act like that, prepare like that and expect to compete,” Akers said. “I want to beat the Big 12 teams. You have to set in your mind that no matter who we are playing, we are going to compete.”

While reaching the level of some of the top teams in the Big 12 involves a rebuild that may take some time, North Texas has shown some bright spots early this season. Nyka Khaw, the lone senior of the team, has seen a dramatic difference in Akers’ time on campus.

“The mental side of our games has gotten better,” Khaw said. “We are always competing, and compete in game-like moments at practice which has helped our games.”

Akers has placed a lot of importance on the team’s preparation, which he believes is key to laying the foundation for the program moving forward. The results are evident, and North Texas has already demonstrated improvement.

The Mean Green didn’t post a top five finish as a team until early November last season. But with a year in the system, Akers led the team to fifth place this past weekend at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational.

“Practice is a serious time to grind and prepare,” Akers said. “Tournaments are the time to relax and have fun.”

Akers hopes that mindset will be part of what helps transform North Texas into one of the premier teams in Texas. But in addition to the changes in preparation, Akers knows a commitment from the athletic administration is important to attracting the talent needed to make that competitive jump.

The Maridoe complex, one of the draws that ultimately attracted Akers to Denton, will eventually have the same effect on recruits.

“Our athletic department has done a great job of promoting,” Akers said. “They are doing the little things – showing a lot of signage and new bling to recruits, and that’s helped with the process.”

In addition to taking advantage of the faith athletic director Wren Baker has placed in his program, Akers wasted little time bringing a big name in women’s college golf onto his staff as yet another way to catch the attention of recruits.

Akers hired Kendra Little as his assistant coach in September of last year, adding to the program’s credibility. Little, who held full-time status on the LPGA Symetra Tour from 2013 to 2015, is one of the most successful golfers in University of Oregon history.

“It was a huge opportunity,” Little said. “I had no prior coaching experience, so getting to coach under him serves as a great learning tool.”

It’s still early in his tenure, but Akers is well on his way to successfully rebuilding the North Texas women’s golf program. It is a challenge he welcomes and one he is enjoying tackling head-on.

“Being surrounded by talented young people is awesome,” Akers said. “I look forward to going into work every day. One of the things I like most about coaching is that it is a win-win situation – whether it be in the classroom or on the field, if they are successful then so am I.”

Featured Image: Women’s golf coach Michael Akers is in his second season with North Texas. Akers was the head coach at Texas State University before coming to Denton. Cameron Roe

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Malik Wright

Malik Wright

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1 Comment

  1. Nickname
    Nickname September 22, 15:38

    Oh word?

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