By Micah Thompson
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
In the summer of 2009, Veronique Drouin-Luttrell was named the head women’s golf coach at the University of Oklahoma. One of her first tasks? Finding a recruiting class that could revive the Sooner program. The team was nine years removed from a conference title and seven from an NCAA tournament appearance.
On Nov. 18, 2009, Drouin-Luttrell announced the signing of Emily Collins, Anne-Catherine Tanguay and Chirapat Jao-Javanil to national letters of intent. The three had secured impressive resumes ranging from high school state championships to tournament wins at a national level.
Drouin-Luttrell was finally confident about the state of the program’s future.
"I really wanted to bring some energy to the program with this class and build on the traditions that we have here at the University of Oklahoma," Drouin-Luttrell said on signing day 2009. "We have an opportunity to make a real mark in women's college golf and I'm very excited about our future.”
The new coach knew the class had a chance to be something special, but she never completely considered just how far the class could bring the program out of the ashes.
Today, the members of the 2009 signing class are seniors, and they have added fellow classmate Kaitlyn Rohrback, a Tennessee transfer, to the senior roster. Since their first day on campus, they have pushed into the top three spots of 37 of 42 records in the OU record book and set the record in 31 of 42 records.
As a team, they have swept the low totals in 18 holes, 36 holes, 54 holes and 72 holes. They have collected the most birdies and eagles in a season in the program’s history and have set the record for team season wins and par-or-better rounds.
“They’re making history,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “When they came into the program, we were ranked 75th and now we’re ranked fifth in the nation and we’re playing in great tournaments and playing against some of the best competition in the nation. They’ve accomplished so much more than I expected, and it’s exciting, because their time here isn’t over yet.”
Drouin-Luttrell said the team has met its goal of rewriting the program’s record book, but there is one thing left the class wants to do. Since the trio’s first day on campus, the coach told them their goal was to win a national championship. In 2012 the team came close, finishing the season tied for sixth place. The same year, now-senior Jao-Javanil won the individual national championship, finishing four shots ahead of the second place golfer. Last season, the team finished tied for ninth, the third-best national finish in program history.
For the class of 2014, the time is now to finally meet its ultimate goal.
“I still think our goal is possible,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “Everybody is dedicated and we all have the same goal. We want to be great. I can see great things happening for these girls, and that’s exciting, but they’re going to have to work for it. We have eight weeks left, and it’s not over until it’s over.”
This class means much more to the Sooner program than whether or not they win a national championship, though. The class of 2014 has rejuvenated the program with their work ethic and success. They have paved the way for future Sooner golfers to be successful, and they have brought the University of Oklahoma into the national spotlight.
Recently, Drouin-Luttrell spoke to the senior class about what kind of legacy it wants to leave behind.
“I asked them what they wanted to be remembered as,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “Do you want to just be the class of 2014 or the class of 2014 that won this and succeeded at that? There are a lot of things that can happen between now and the end of this season, but no matter what happens they have put OU golf on the radar and they should be proud of that. I’m proud of them for doing that.”
The senior class of 2014 is a class that will forever be remembered by Drouin-Luttrell, and she hopes it is a class that will be remembered by future Sooners years down the road.“It’s been so much fun for me just being around them and watching them get better every year,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “The girls coming up should look up to them, absolutely. They’re all great examples of what hard work can do.”