He has coached the California men's golf team for 34 seasons, but Steve Desimone has never had one like this year's: 11 wins in 13 tournaments. Before taking his team to next week's NCAA Championships, the Golden Bear alum fielded five questions from Ryan Herrington.
Golden Bear: Desimone has coached the Cal team for 34 years. Photo: J.D. Cuban.
Q: Golf isn't big at most colleges. Have you cracked Cal's mainstream?
It's amazing how many places I've gone where I would not think people were tuned in, but they are. My doctor recently said, “Great season coach. Run that table.” It's been overwhelming, gratifying and, in some respects, surprising.
Q: How have the players handled being mentioned as among the best college teams ever?
We haven't dwelled on it. We've been on a mission since losing to Alabama in the NCAA semifinals last year. [Winning the NCAAs] is the goal. These guys are tough. They know what it's like to play with pressure.
Q: Any postseason equipment changes?
The manufacturers take good care of us [with access to the latest clubs and fittings], but there has been very little tweaking. These guys are smart enough not to mess with a good thing. If anybody did, the others would have them in our doghouse so fast.
Q: With the potential for history at the NCAAs, has your apparel company asked you to do anything different?
Cal is a Nike school. They sent us three or four new shirts, which is great. Titleist has sent us gloves, balls, shoes. Ping gave us some new bags. Nothing crazy.
Q: How are sales of Cal golf merchandise going these days?
Sadly, the place in Berkeley that sold that kind of stuff went under a few years ago. Everyone loves a winner, so my guess is there would be a lot of people who would love to put their hands on some stuff. Maybe that's something we can work on.