Aug. 27, 2003
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
Thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of the late William C. Eacho, Jr., the University of Virginia will field its 25th intercollegiate athletic team this fall.
UVa officially introduced the inaugural 2003-04 women's golf team with a formal reception and dinner on Friday evening at the Rotunda.
"Our women's golf team was created because of the vision of one very special gentleman," head coach Jan Mann said. "William Eacho was a 1945 Virginia graduate. He had a passion for the game of golf and a warm place in his heart for helping young people. His generous gift enabled the university to add women's golf as its 25th sport."
The vision for the program began years ago while Eacho and Dirk Katstra, Executive Director of the Virginia Athletics Foundation, were playing a round of golf. Eacho expressed his desire to see a women's golf team at the University of Virginia. In August 2001, he made a $ 1.4 million gift to the Virginia Athletics Foundation to help create an endowment to fund women's golf scholarships. In June 2002, UVa named Mann as its first head coach. The Cavaliers begin competition next month.
Athletic director Craig Littlepage and Mann made a special presentation to the Eacho Family. Family members in attendance included Mrs. Linda Eacho, and Peggy Ann Eacho Fechnay and her family- Scott Fechnay, daughter Nancy Fechnay, a second-year UVa student, and son John Fechnay.
"Mr. Eacho was a generous donor to Virginia athletics for 50 years and had an interest in a women's golf program at the University for a long time," Littlepage said. "His generosity spurred other gifts to the endowment, ensuring our ability to compete for the finest student-athletes in the country in women's golf."
"When I first came to Virginia, I thought it was possible to build a national champion," Mann shared when introducing the team. "Tonight we are looking at the cornerstone of that national championship team. They are dedicated, hard-working, talented young ladies."
The women's golf team members will take their first competitive swing on Sunday, Sept. 7 against Richmond at Birdwood Golf Course. The Cavaliers' first tournament is slated for Sept. 15-16 at the College of Charleston's Cougar Classic.
"Our tournament schedule will definitely put us to the test. We will be competing against just about every top-ranked team in the country," Mann said. "Hopefully, we will extend our season with post-tournament play, which would be quite an accomplishment for a first-year team."
University of Virginia Women's Golf
Golfer Yr. Hometown/High School
Michele Graham Sr. Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge HS
Ashley Mayo Fr. Aventura, Fla./Krop Senior HS
Kira Mayo Fr. Aventura, Fla./Krop Senior HS
Lindsay Robinson Fr. Huntington, W.V./Cabell Midland HS
Sally Shonk Fr. Nobelsville, Ind./Noblesville HS
Rachel Smith Fr. Powell, Tenn./Karns HS
Leah Wigger Fr. Louisville, Ky./Assumption HS
Head Coach: Jan Mann (UNC Wilmington; first season)
Assistant Coach: Danielle Roudebush (UNC Wilmington 1997; first season)