After the resignation of former women’s golf coach Kellie Hooper, the Idaho State women’s golf team hired Pocatello native Dallen Atkins.
A graduate from Century High School, Atkins played for Idaho State during his time in Pocatello and grew up watching the Idaho State golf program. When the opportunity came to coach the women’s team, Atkins jumped at his chance.
“When you apply to be the golf coach it isn’t because you think, ‘I guess I could do it,’” he explained.
When the call came in telling Atkins he had received the position, he was ecstatic. Atkins said that he is looking forward to this opportunity and hopes to build the program his way.
“The only way for this team to go is up,” he said.
Atkins said his first goals for the team are to instill a better sense of what a team is in a sport that puts so much emphasis on the individual. He wants to give the team the experiences they deserve playing collegiate level golf and would like to give each team member the opportunity to become better golfers.
“There has been a lot of talk about the golf team and ISU athletics in general that has been kind of negative, but we are going to change that,” Atkins said. “It’s time to forget about the past and open up to the new and exciting things that are coming to ISU golf. We are going to be the talk of the town.”
In the team’s first tournament, a three-round rainy affair in the Washington State Cup, Atkins said he had already started to see significant improvements.
Sophomore Tanner Thompson completed a tournament better in adverse weather than she had in a long time.
Kylie Martens, a senior on the team, has shown improvement over the last couple tournaments dating back to last season where she golfed a career-best in a round. In another, she posted some career lows, scoring three birdies, something she had never done before.
“It’s the practice routines [Atkins is] having us do. It is the knowledge of the game and the course management skills [he’s] taught us,” Martens said.
Atkins is setting the bar high for this team and the girls are rising to the expectation as well.
This season Atkins expects the girls to not finish last in all the tournaments, like previous seasons. Atkins wants the team to be competing against the other schools instead of just showing up.
He also expects the girls to continue to golf personal records and to post personal bests at tournaments. Another goal the team is striving to achieve this season is a team score of under 900.
Atkins said he would like the team to be able to compete as a real contender for the conference title in the near future.
“I want ISU to show up at Pac-12 tournaments or Big Sky tournaments and have the other coaches tell their teams, ‘hey watch out for them, they are really good.”’