The rapid rise under Texas A&M women’s golf under Gerrod Chadwell has been impressive

When Gerrod Chadwell walked into his first day of work as head coach of the Texas A&M women’s golf team, he knew a tall task was ahead of him.

The building needed a fresh coat of paint. Some contemporary graphics. Even worse, a major freeze in Texas destroyed the practice greens. “College athletics is a facilities arms race,” Chadwell says. “Everything, for lack of a better word, was tired.”

Chadwell acknowledges that in two years, he couldn’t have imagined that the women’s golf team’s selection party would draw a large crowd and a throng of media to affirm their No. 1 seed at the 2023 NCAA San Antonio Regional.

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The personnel was in need of a major update, too. In order to take a 90th-ranked team to the top of the SEC, talented players were going to need to buy into Chadwell’s vision. He’d spent the past eight years with the Houston Cougars, a program he led to six-consecutive regionals and three individuals over at nationals.

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He took to the transfer portal in search of players who also wanted a new start. Zoe Slaughter, who he had also recruited to Houston, was top of mind. So was Hailee Cooper, whose incredible game had faltered and had her on the brink of quitting altogether. Above all, their selflessness was what Chadwell loved most.

“They are the consummate teammate, and that’s me too. I was a pass-first guy,” he says, referring to his basketball days. “I’m so thankful for them to take that leap of faith and see the vision we had.”


Jennie Park, a talented player from TCU who had made plenty of noise in her junior career, was also in the conversation. Despite nerves surrounding the big change, all three of these players would take on Chadwell’s first year right beside him.

But what most might have perceived as a rebuilding year, didn’t pan out that way at all. “It’s kind of cool that ended up being us,” Cooper said. “I definitely didn’t think it was going to happen that fast.”

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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek