Like most new teams, clubs or businesses, it takes time to build success. You have to find the right people to run the ship, and the right people to keep it afloat.
Just after their third season as a club, DePaul University’s club golf team has already competed in three NCCGA (National Collegiate Club Golf Association) national championships.
Club founder, former club President and recent graduate, Adam Gracik, is the reason this team exists.
“I transferred here from Mizzou in 2015,” Gracik said. “I played golf in high school for three years, so I missed competing and I was getting bored of always playing for fun.
“I saw that there was no club golf team at DePaul, so I figured why not make an attempt to start one and then see how it goes.”
Little did Gracik know he would find lots of talent on DePaul’s campus. Including two former Division I golfers, Pat Mullaney (Butler University) and Noreen Caporusso (University of Northern Iowa).
“As soon as I found them, I knew we could be legit.” Gracik said. “Then it was just a matter of finding some solid players who could at least contribute.
“Pat and Noreen are the type of players that can carry a team, and they did that for us.”
Mullaney (2017) and Caporusso (2018) have both graduated now, and only one player remains from the original team.
“Now a lot of the original group is gone,” Gracik said. “Before I left I made sure to have at least 20 people on the team in order to keep it going and to make sure I found the right people to turn the club over to.”
As the first three years have flown by, Gracik and DePaul club golf have had nothing but success. Reaching three consecutive NCCGA spring national championships along the way.
New club President Patrick Mulvaney will take over the reigns for Gracik, in hopes of keeping up the clubs success.
Mulvaney just finished his first full year on the DePaul club golf team. As a Health Science Pre-Med major he will need to have good time management skills in order to handle school-work and the responsibility that comes along with being the president of the club.
“I know that there is a lot of responsibility that comes along with being the president of a club here at DePaul.” Mulvaney said. “I’ve learned a lot from Adam over the past year, and I’ve been able to watch him run tournaments, as well as organize activities and practices for the team.”
Another responsibility of being the club president is having the ability to put together the right rosters in order for the team to compete at the highest level.
“There are a lot of good golfers on college campuses everywhere,” Caporusso said. “Many of them like me who played at the highest level in college, so you just have to find them.
“There are also a lot of great players out there that have the ability to play at the highest level, but choose not to because of the time-consumption and how hard it is to juggle course-work with practice and tournaments all the time.”
Before he left, Gracik put together a solid nucleus of four players that will be around for a few years to come.
Two specific players are sophomore Joey Fremgen and freshman Nick Bavaro. In the fall, Bavaro was playing division III golf at Augustana College, before deciding to transfer mid year to be a bit closer to home.
The top eight players from DePaul headed down to St. Louis for a two day tournament against the top 27 teams in the country. It was Graciks last chance at a national title for a team that has meant a lot to him.
“I was pretty stoked that we were able to get a chance to compete for our third national championship.” Gracik said. “I wanted to take advantage of my last opportunity, but unfortunately we fell up short.”
DePaul ended up finishing 21 out of 27 teams. But one thing they were able to gain from it was getting younger players the experience in big tournament situations.
“The first day I was way more nervous than I should have been, and I played my worst round of the season.” Bavaro said. “Thankfully the older guys on the team gave me a few words of wisdom before day two and I was able to play a lot better.
“Even though we came up short, I’m glad I was able to compete on that stage, it will give me and some of the other young guys some experience for the future.”
Mulvaney and the rest of the management team will continue to look around DePaul to find some more talent to add to the roster in 2019, in order to continue the success that they have seen in their short period as a club.
Gracik already did a great job at putting Mulvaney and the club in a great position to continue to compete after he moves on. With a few veterans and some young talented players, DePaul’s next goal is to make it to their first ever Fall National Championship this upcoming December.