After spending the last 11 seasons coaching at Taylor University, Cameron Andry was named the new head coach of women’s golf at Ball State in July.
Andry had success at Taylor, where he was named Crossroads Coach of the Year five times, and the Golf Coaches Association of America named him NAIA north region coach of the year twice – he also has multiple men’s and women’s tournament wins over the years.
“I always thought coaching was something that I would enjoy,” Andry said. “Not even necessarily golf, I just loved sports … I decided I was going to go into the media side of things.”
While Andry was at Taylor working in sports communications, the men's golf coach position opened up, then in time, he started the women’s golf program.
Under Andry, the women's program at Taylor won multiple Crossroads League Championships, was ranked in the top 10 nationally in NAIA and placed within the top five at the NAIA National Championship.
Andry said his time at Taylor and with the men’s golf program was a “great time” in his life. When starting the program, he felt it was well established but not as successful as he wanted.
With the start of the women’s program, Andry said he had to “learn on the fly and try things out on the fly.”
“We got a few good players in, and we started the women’s program. Starting a program from scratch is not for the faint of heart,” Andry said. “There is some work that goes into it, but you can also really see some things pay off. I really got to grow and learn.”
Freshman Sarah Gallagher was recruited by the previous coach and eventually Ball State was able to give Gallagher an offer to play on the women's golf team.
“Coach Andry is amazing. I don’t think it could have worked out better truthfully,” Gallagher said. “He is super motivated, extremely competitive and just a great person to be around and creates a great environment for the team.”
Ball State Women’s Golf has two returners from last year's season, junior Kiah Parrott and sophomore Payton Bennett.
“I think having something new was a big thing for us, and it really has made a big difference, having a new face for our program,” Parrott said. “I think [the success of the team] is hard to tell right now because it is the beginning, but I think going forward, there will be a lot of things that will be improved.”
The women's team has three freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and one graduate student, five of those seven players are new to Ball State.
“We are really young. I think taking that [leadership] role is important to show them [freshmen] the ropes,” Parrott said.
Parrott explained how different college golf was compared to high school, and she plans to show the freshmen how to navigate and prepare for those challenges.
Although the team may be young, Andry is looking forward to a fresh start.
“We are pretty young and inexperienced, but in a lot of ways, I think that is a really good thing. We are all getting a fresh start and learning together as we go,” Andry said. “I'll say this for our first tournament coming up, the three freshmen are all going to be in the top five. They all are pretty talented. We will have some growing pains like any young team will. Overall, we have a lot of skill and help them day by day, showing and doing the work. We have great leaders in Kiah and Payton. Every day, if we put in the work to get better, I think we will like where we end up.”
The Cardinals competed in their first competition Sept. 11-12 at the Redbird Invitational, hosted at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Illinois. The Cardinals placed 10th out of 15 teams, with junior Kiah Parrott tying for eighth individually.
Ball State finished fifth in the MAC in 2022 without winning an event all season. The Cardinals' best tournament performance last season was a fourth-place finish at the Courtney Cole Invitational hosted by Indiana University.
Andry said winning “is not out of the question at all,” but there are things they can’t control.
“Our goal is to get better every day. For our team to care about one another as well and be great teammates and to compete in everything that we do,” Andry said. “If you do that, that will set the stage for results and put our focus on what we can control. There is a lot of stuff you don't control in golf; you can control the mentality you bring and the preparation that you put into it. After that, you just have to tee it up and see what you have that day.”