AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is more on the line than a spot in the NCAA Championship when the Texas women’s golf team tees off Thursday at the NCAA Regional.
Advancing would also continue the coaching career of Martha Richards. At 44 years old, the Longhorns’ head coach announced in January that this will be her final season in coaching.
Richards, who has twice battled cancer, says the day-to-day grind and travel synonymous with coaching in college has taken its toll. She is cancer free but continues to vigilantly monitor her health.
“I’ve survived two types of cancer, I don’t have a spleen. I have a different immune system than everyone else,” Richards said. “Over the long haul the wear and tear of this job as it has changed has just made my body tired. I could do this job for another five or ten years but then probably wouldn’t be in a healthy place.”
Richards has had to reassure concerned colleagues that her decision is not based on any larger or more immediate health issues.
“I’m healthy, I’m good, I just need to make a career shift so I’m healthy in ten or twenty years,” she said.
The Longhorns are the no. 15 seed in the NCAA Central Regional Championship at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The top eight teams advance to the NCAA Championship in Tulsa, Okla. beginning May 20.
Richards admits this is her favorite team she’s coached in seven seasons at Texas.
Junior Bertine Strauss, an All-Big 12 Team selection, says Richards impending departure is motivation for a post season run.
“We can give her that extra week, we can give her that extra week to go to nationals and extend her stay just a little bit longer,” she said.