Women’s golf welcomes new head coach

Coach Mat Blair

Mat Blair

Mat Blair, who was head coach at Valparaiso for five seasons, will serve as the interim head women’s golf coach for the Flames.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to get Mat to step in as our interim coach, and it’s especially gratifying to welcome a coach of his caliber on such short notice,” said Jim Schmidt, UIC athletic director. “The combination of his knowledge of Horizon League and NCAA golf, along with the respect he earned over the years from his players and other golfers in the league, makes me very confident that he will give the Flames a great chance to be very competitive this spring.”

In addition to his responsibilities at Valpo, Blair has been the teaching professional at Briar Leaf Golf Club in LaPorte, Indiana, for the past five years. He has instructed and mentored many All-State and All-Conference student-athletes, including the 2001 and 2006 Indiana High School Athletic Association state champions.

“I appreciate the opportunity UIC is giving me,” Blair said.

Blair replaces Carol Rhoades, the first head coach in UIC program history, who recently left UIC to focus more time on her efforts with the First Tee program and youth golf.

“I’d like to thank Carol Rhoades for doing such a good job in getting this program off the ground. I really look forward to working with the Flames,” Blair said.

Blair attended Rogers High School in Michigan City, Indiana, where he was an All-State Second Team selection in 1990. One year later, he was named a junior college All-American at Anderson College in South Carolina. He matriculated to Ball State, where he played for the next three years. Blair played professionally for three years on the Hooters Tour. He also qualified for the Virginia Beach Open on the Nationwide Tour in 2005.

Mat and his wife, Tia, have three children, MaKenna, Kara and Tessa.

The Flames open the spring season March 14 at the Seminole State Spring Break Invitational in Lake Mary, Florida.

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