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Trailblazing South Mountain Community College coach making history

Chelsea Carroll is the first woman in NJCAA history to lead a men’s team to a national championship.

PHOENIX — South Mountain Community College men’s golf team just won their 8th in program history.

Leading the team is interim head coach Chelsea Carroll. She is the first woman in NJCAA history to lead a men’s team to a national championship and is believed to be the first female in college sports to lead a men’s team to a national title.

“It’s an honor,” said Coach Carroll. “I hope I can help pave the way for the future of women in men's sports and being a leader that is respected.”

Back in 2019, South Mountain hired Carroll to restart the women’s golf team. Last season, when the men’s coach accepted a DI opportunity, the school turned to Carroll to be the interim men’s head coach just weeks before the season.

“I was most excited for the opportunity that I didn’t really think of that [a female coaching a men’s team] until I had the meeting with them at the beginning for the season,” said Coach Carroll. 

“There was a lot of pushback as far as respect [from some players], but also earning their respect too. It was very difficult for them to kind of be ok with a woman in that position, and some of them did admit that”

The season saw her men’s roster go from 14 to 7 players, but it was capped with an undefeated spring season, a national championship, and a compliment she will never forget.

“At nationals, I’ll never forget,” said coach Carrol. “We were on the 18h hole. This mom comes to me, she was watching her son. And she's like, “I just want to tell you how your player's respect for you is amazing. Just the way they like to respect each other not only you but they respect each other.” And I’m like, You have no idea how much that compliment means to me. So I shared it with the guys. People see and people see how you guys interact with me, and it's going to make a difference in your part of that difference.”

Carroll hopes South Mountain decides to remove her ‘interim’ tag as the men’s coach, so she can focus on bringing a title to both programs next year.

“Definitely want to defend the national champion,” said Coach Carroll. “Hopefully bring one home for the ladies. I hope I can inspire them. That’s what kind of pushed me through it, is to lead by example.”

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