After a record-breaking five years competing for the women’s golf team, 2021 graduate Lauren Cox will continue her involvement with the Mean Green this upcoming season in a new role as a volunteer assistant.
The program’s record holder in season scoring average (72.26 strokes per round in 2020-21), Cox will hold the role while pursuing a professional golf career this fall through the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s qualifying school (Q-school). She said head coach Michael Akers pitched the role as a way for her to stay connected with the team.
“It was something [Akers] originally brought up,” Cox said. “I thought if he ever needed any help I’d be more than happy to come back. He initially brought it up, I think because transitioning from a college golfer on a team to a professional golfer on your own is a little tough. […] I loved being a part of the team and it was just a good way I can stay connected with them.”
Akers said staying close with players after they leave his program is a top priority for him and one of the greatest parts of coaching. This philosophy combined with the team’s improvement from a No. 201 ranking five years ago when both Akers and Cox arrived to a No. 36 finish last season made her continued involvement a no-brainer.
“She and I have been part of this whole evolution and it’s been awesome,” Akers said. “She’s a huge reason why we’ve gone the way we have, so it only makes sense to keep her around as long as we can in whatever capacity we can.”
Having won two individual titles and posted the second-best season scoring average in program history (72.85 strokes per round) last season, senior golfer Audrey Tan is the Mean Green’s most accomplished returner. She said Cox has already helped her grow as a golfer and her presence will continue to benefit Tan and the entire team.
“I’m sure she has so much more to bring and so much more for me to learn from her as well,” Tan said. “I’m really excited just to have her around because she obviously lightens up the mood and helps some of the new players to ease in as well. To have that familiar person around, I think that’s going to be great.”
One benefit of Cox’s position is the new on-campus golf practice facility which Director of Athletics Wren Baker said on June 24 is set to open between late July and early August. Although she is currently living in College Station, Cox said she looks forward to practicing in the facility and being around the team there when she is in Denton, something Akers said will be invaluable.
“She’ll be able to utilize our facility as a volunteer coach,” Akers said. “I’m going to put her name on a locker so she can take advantage of what she missed out on facility-wise. She’s playing professional golf anyway, so I want her around the players. I want them to see her work ethic and how she practices.”
Cox will participate in the first of Q-school’s three stages on Aug. 16-22 in California. If Cox advances through the opening stage, she will compete in Stage II on Oct. 18-24 in Venice, Florida, with Stage III — the Q-Series — taking place in Alabama over a two-week span from Nov. 29-Dec. 12. Cox’s performance will determine which professional tournaments she can compete in and her tour status for the 2022 season.
At the time of the interview, Cox was in California where she has been preparing for Stage I by practicing on the three courses it will be held on. Akers will accompany her during the competition as her caddie.
“I’m really just excited for the opportunity,” Cox said. “I don’t really know what all to expect but I’m learning every day. To be out here and see the courses is really cool.”
Although her longtime involvement as a player for North Texas ended this May, Cox said she still feels like a player and not an assistant.
“To be on the other side of [tournaments], not playing, I think it’ll really hit me that I’m not on the team anymore,” Cox said. “It was just the best experience and that’s why I stayed for five years, because I loved it so much. I’m really excited to be on the other side of it.”
Featured Image: Senior Lauren Cox drives the ball in practice on Oct. 2, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas