Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

New Texas women’s golf head coach Laura Ianello pushes herself out of her comfort zone

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

When new Texas women’s golf head coach Laura Ianello got the call from Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, she was sitting in her new office at the University of Arizona and had no idea what was going to come next. 

“I thought he was calling just to maybe ask for a referral or something,” Ianello said. “I had no idea he was calling to hire me.”

Being from Arizona, Del Conte’s name had been mentioned frequently, but Ianello hadn’t met him before the call. 

“(Del Conte) just said ‘Laura, I’m looking to make a change and I want you to go home, talk to your husband, talk to your family and you just let me know probably in 24 hours if it’s a thumbs up or thumbs down,’” Ianello said. 

Ianello’s roots were planted at the University of Arizona. She had coached at Arizona for the past 14 seasons, but she also played collegiate golf in Tucson before playing professionally for five seasons. 

Along with her history with Arizona, Ianello had to think about what it would mean for her family, including her two young daughters.

“It was my home, it’s my alma mater,” Ianello said. “I’ve done great things there, but the call to Texas excited me in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I called my husband right away and said ‘We gotta talk,’ and he was freaked out, but I feel so blessed and so thankful to Arizona and Texas to be here.”

In her time at Arizona, Ianello led the Wildcats to a national championship in 2018 and advanced to the NCAA Championships nine times out of the 13 opportunities. 

Ianello didn’t just support her team on the golf course. Ianello’s program earned an equal number of academic accolades, including 29 WGCA Scholar All-Americans. 

“What she has accomplished during her 14 seasons at Arizona is outstanding, and she brings the wisdom and knowledge of an All-American and LPGA Tour golfer in her playing days as well,” Del Conte said. “Laura is a program builder with a championship pedigree, and she truly cares about developing her student-athletes, whether it be on the course, in the classroom or as people.”

Ianello’s decision to move came down to several reasons. 

“Texas has a lot more resources than a lot of other universities and top programs,” Ianello said. “I think that if you’re a coach and you’re middle-aged like I am, you want to continue having successful programs and having chances to win national championships. … I want to make sure that I can do that and I think at the University of Texas that is very doable.

The resources and facilities at Texas will help Ianello with recruitment. The UT Golf Club is a $1.2 million facility that includes three all-weather hitting bays with TrackMan launch monitors and a chipping and pitching area spanning nearly one full acre.

Alongside the innovative facilities, Ianello was already very familiar with the golfers at UT.

“Most of the ladies on this women’s golf team, I recruited and I lost them to Texas,” Ianello said. “So I’m very familiar with this amazing group of women who play at UT and to have the opportunity to coach them and continue to help them reach their dreams and push them to excel to their highest level, it just excites me even more to be here.”

Despite the success of the women’s golf team in the past, Texas has never won a national championship. But Ianello believes that the current Texas team has what it takes. 

“They just need to keep working hard, doing what they’re doing because they’re already a national championship caliber team,” Ianello said. “I think so much of it is going to come down to believing in themselves, believing in each other and having coaches that can push them but also give them comfort.”

Ianello has already taken steps to ensure that her staff will be able to support the team on the journey, hiring Braden Ash as an assistant coach on June 12. 

“This is pushing myself out of my comfort zone,” Ianello said. “There’s so many new things here at Texas that I’m going to have to learn, but I’m excited and invigorated to get going.”

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