Kim Lewellen brings a wealth of experience to the UVA women’s golf program—time on the pro tour, success as a college coach and familiarity with the dual demands of athletics and academics.
Lewellen also brings a few less-orthodox assets—two stints on the Golf Channel’s reality series The Big Break and teaching tools you won’t find on many collegiate practice ranges.
Take the Cheese Wall, for example.
Picture a monstrous slab of Swiss cheese, then imagine having to hit golf balls through the holes. The contraption was used on The Big Break to test accuracy, and Lewellen is using it to teach trajectory and make practice interesting.
“If I can bring some of those games and interest into our practice, it’s going to be not only productive but also fun,” she says.
Now in her first year at UVA, Lewellen comes from East Carolina University, where she led the Pirates to a conference championship and the NCAA regionals. She credits Jan Mann, retired UVA coach, with building a solid program—the Cavs finished ninth in the NCAA regionals last spring—and sees a well-rounded group developing this year.
“Are they the longest hitters? No. Are they the strongest girls? No. But our strength is that we have no weaknesses,” she says.
Leading the way is Norwegian Lene Krog, who transferred from East Carolina to UVA largely so she could face tougher competition. Krog (Com ’09) has played with the Norwegian national team, qualified for the NCAA individual championships last year and is setting a fast pace this year with three top-10 finishes in fall competition.
Lewellen hopes to take her squad to the NCAA finals, where she has penciled in defending champion Duke as the likely opponent. In addition to the Cheese Wall, she’ll look to two other motivators that characterized her Big Break experience—intense preparation and a keen competitive spirit.
“One of the reasons I played competitive golf was to have those feelings of coming down to the last day and the last round,” she says. “The Big Break brought out those competitive juices in me again.”