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Lucas at Large: Burcin opens notebook to build UW program

MGLF_110726_Burcin_Michael.jpgDuring his formative years as a South Carolina assistant golf coach Michael Burcin got in the habit of documenting his "brainstorming'' on a laptop. Whenever he got an idea, he filed it away.

Burcin preserved nearly everything; notes, quotes, maybe even some anecdotes.

"Riding in the car, you might have something that pops into your head,'' Burcin said, "and I thought I needed to keep track of this stuff. It really piqued my interest, so I started doing it.''

Mostly, he related everything back to becoming a better and more understanding coach through his evaluation of every situation that might come up during recruiting or the course of a season.

"Everything from how to handle qualifying to how to handle personal issues.'' he said. "After every season, I made notes on the makeup of the team and what I thought we could have done better.''

All of this came instinctively to Burcin, a coach's kid. His dad and granddad were coaches.

One of the things that Burcin chronicled on his computer was a stage in South Carolina's development under coach Bill McDonald; a growth spurt when the Gamecocks become more proactive.

"We had to do a lot of reaching out in the community and to the club pros and instructors,'' Burcin remembered. "For whatever reason, it hadn't been done in the past there.''

Burcin finds himself in a similar position today as the new men's golf coach at UW. Since his hiring in early June, he has already reached out to alums and club pros throughout the state of Wisconsin.

"If you can have a solid relationship with club pros, whether they went to school at Wisconsin or not, they can be a huge ally,'' said Burcin, 35, a former club pro himself in Lancaster, Pa.

"It's important to have those guys on your side. More importantly, they have to trust me and what I'm doing and know that I have the best interests of the kids and the program in mind.''

To the point, he added, where "they're going to call me if they have a kid. We're probably not going to have a roster of 10 Wisconsin kids. But I need to get the best player in the state every year.''

Burcin has been genuinely encouraged by his reception so far. "I've gotten unbelievable feedback,'' he said. "It blew my mind how positive people have been.''

Nationally recognized for his recruiting -- he was singled out as the nation's top assistant in 2010 -- Burcin has always put an emphasis on building relationships as a recruiter and a coach.

"I love recruiting,'' he said. "To do it well, I think you have to like it. I know a lot of guys who hate it. Would I rather be at home with my 5-month old (Josie) and my wife (Michelle)? Sure.

"But it's all about recruiting and relationships. Those are the most important thing we're going to do here -- and they're reversible and intertwined -- relationships and recruiting.

"What's exciting is that we're trying to do some things that haven't been done here in awhile, and we're trying to get players to come here that maybe would have considered this place in the past.''

What does he see as some of the keys to executing his plan for the Badgers? "Changing the mindset of the program; changing the expectations to what we can do here,'' he said.

He knows how challenging it might be, too. "Recruiting is going to be a lot of work,'' he said, "because we're going to do a different type of recruiting than what was done here in the past.''

Different how? "We're going to be more active,'' he said, noting that his assistant, Bryant Odom, didn't attend a recent youth camp at University Ridge because he was on the road recruiting.

Burcin has a vision for the program. But he must convince his golfers on its viability.

"I think that's the biggest challenge,'' he said. "We've got to get these kids seeing themselves competing at a high level in the conference, in the regionals and in the NCAAs.

"When kids come here, they've got to understand that we're trying to do some seriously big things here. I don't know it all; nor does my assistant.

"But we're both coming from programs where expectations were very high (Odom is a former Georgia All-American and grad assistant) and the kids knew, 'This is what we do here.'''

Overall, Burcin has been pleased by the "willingness'' of the UW golfers that he has inherited.

"I've been blown away by how great the kids are here,'' he said.  "I just told them, 'Alright guys, this is what we have to think about doing now.'

"And I don't think it's because they don't want to (compete at the highest levels). I just don't think it has been part of how things have been done.''

The Badgers already have some resources in place, starting with University Ridge. "This golf course,'' Burcin said, "is better than anything we had access to in Columbia (South Carolina).''

Now add a new indoor facility. "That practice facility,'' he said, "will be as good, if not better than, anything I've seen in the country. When we have that building, it's really going to make things exciting.''

What started out as a nervous and stressful last day of singles ended in victory for the 2011 Palmer Cup team. Being down one point going into the last day, we needed to win five-of-eight singles matches to claim the cup.


With stellar play from our guys, we did just that.  It came down to the last two matches and it was exciting to say the least.  The crowds were great and it could not of been a better experience. 

It was such an honor and a pleasure to spend a week with these eight players. As the week went on, the intensity level grew and their games took another step as well. With NCAAs a week prior and the U.S. Open looming the week ahead, it would of been easy for them to have tired, wondering minds.

 

I made eight new friends this week and certainly probably learned more from them from they did from me. It is amazing how much you can pick up in regards to routines, practice habits, and theories when you spend time with top players.

 

I want to thank Russell Henley (Georgia), Patrick Cantlay (UCLA) , Bank Vongvanij (Florida), Alex Carpenter (Abiline Christian), Daniel Miernicki (Oregon), Chris Williams (Washington), Andrew Yun (Stanford), Blaine Barber (Auburn), and Head Coach Tim Poe for a spectacular and memorable week! 

 

With the close of the Palmer Cup, my official time as a Badger has begun. I am overwhelmed with excitement regarding the opportunity in Madison and the goals that I have for this program. There is a lot of work to be done and I could not be more excited to get started. I want to thank all the Badger fans for their loyalty and support and I look forward to meeting many of you sometime soon!

 

May All Your Putts Fall,

Coach Burcin


NOTE: New University of Wisconsin head men's golf coach Michael Burcin is serving as an assistant coach with the Palmer Cup team. An assistant at South Carolina the past seven years, Burcin was named head coach at Wisconsin on May 31.
 
Burcin was named the 2010 Golf Coaches Association of America's Jan Strickland Assistant Coach of the Year. In April he was selected to serve as an assistant at the 2011 Palmer Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition as teams of collegiate golfers from the United States and Europe square off in a three-day match play event.

"Heat wave strikes the northeast" was the heading in today's paper as Team USA began play in the 2011 Palmer Cup. At 7:30 a.m., with Arnold Palmer on the first tee, we began our quest to retain the cup.

100_3835TEAM USAThumb.jpgA wonderful week of Palmer Cup activities got off to a great start yesterday with the first practice round for Team USA. The competition is being contested at the Stanwich Club in Stamford, Conn., which is a traditional layout with quick, bent grass greens. 

With another practice round today our guys are feeling more and more comfortable on the golf course. 

This team representing the USA this week is an honor to be apart of for us as coaches. On our team of eight we have three 2011 U.S. Open Qualifiers, the D-I and D-II players of the year, the No. 1 rated college player in the country, and a Nationwide Tour event winner as an amateur, just a few weeks ago. More importantly, these kids are very grateful of the opportunity and so appreciative for the royal treatment we have been given this week.

Before the intensity rises tomorrow morning I was fortunate to experience one of the greatest afternoons anyone in golf could ask for. After a private meeting with Mr. Arnold Palmer in our team locker room, Mr. Palmer joined myself, team USA head coach Tim Poe, and the European coaching staff for lunch.

The opportunity to enjoy 90 minutes with the "King", one-on-one, is right up there in regards to sports highlights. He was more gracious than could be asked for, and made any nerves we had regarding such a meeting disappear quickly. Just as exciting was Mr. Palmer's enthusiasm for the new opportunity at the University of Wisconsin. It is hard to describe such an incredible afternoon and what an unbelievable start to a terrific week ahead.
 
I look forward to periodically updating Badger supporters on the Palmer Cup and hopefully a victorious USA Team!

May all your putts fall
- Coach Burcin

NOTE: New University of Wisconsin head men's golf coach Michael Burcin is serving as an assistant coach with the Palmer Cup team. An assistant at South Carolina the past seven years, Burcin was named head coach at Wisconsin on May 31.
 
Burcin was named the 2010 Golf Coaches Association of America's Jan Strickland Assistant Coach of the Year. In April he was selected to serve as an assistant at the 2011 Palmer Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition as teams of collegiate golfers from the United States and Europe square off in a three-day match play event.
ON WISCONSIN