May 19, 2006
By Lisa Porter
The Santa Clara
The Bronco men's golf team made history last week with their first ever berth into the NCAA West Regional Championships. The Broncos are the 17 seed in the 27-team tournament, to be held in Tucson, Arizona from May 18 to 20.
Because the Broncos didn't finish first in the conference, they had to qualify via an at-large berth, as voted by a selection committee. On May 8, the committee concluded that the Broncos had enough quality tournament appearances to earn a berth in the regionals.
Although these are uncharted waters, head coach Rob Miller said he knows what to expect.
"At the next level we need to make a lot more birdies and play a little less conservatively, so I think the guys are more focused on trying to be a little more aggressive and get in more of a mentality of trying to go low as possible, as opposed to just trying to be around par," said Miller.
The Broncos' appearance at regionals marks the pinnacle of a season packed with four victories and 17 top five finishes in tournament play.
Senior co-captain Mike Nicoletti knows that the Bronco's will need to stay calm and humble.
"I know that there has been a lot of hype and a lot of talk. I hope that everybody on the team, once they've teed up, is where they need to be and that their head is in the right place," said Nicoletti, who received All-WCC First Team honors.
In the regional tournament, the top ten teams advance to the NCAA Championships, which take place in the end of May. As the 17 seed, the Broncos are optimistic about their chances of advancing.
"We've played with enough of those teams that we know we can beat a lot of them ahead of us," said Miller. "That top ten level is not something that's really difficult for us to achieve, it's just a matter of us doing it and doing it at the right time."
With the success that the Broncos have been experiencing lately, it is difficult to tell that they have only known their head coach for 10 months. Just last June, the Broncos hired Miller as their head coach, and the transition has been smooth for the team.
Senior co-captain John Colyar said that Miller's willingness to listen to his players has benefited the team.
"Anything we need to ask for that might make us better, Rob has been right there to do it for us. He's a real player's coach and the guys have really responded well to that," said Colyar.
Miller also said that while coaching transitions are sometimes hard, his went rather smoothly.
"The transition worked out well because I think that my style basically has fit well with what this team had in place. I like being a little more casual, putting a little less pressure on the guys and really making it about them more than about me," he said.
Miller's efforts did not go unnoticed. In mid-April following the conclusion of the WCC Championship, he was named the co-coach of the year in the WCC.
With hopes of an appearance at the NCAA Championship, the Broncos will attempt to clinch a top ten spot, and advance even further into Santa Clara history.