After going through the 2019 spring season with an interim head coach, the McNeese men’s golf team has its new leader as Derek Plucienski was named the next Cowboy head coach on May 29.
Plucienski replaces Michael Fulty, who just finished his 10th season as the McNeese women’s golf head coach. Fulty was given the interim head coaching role for the men’s team after Austin Burk stepped down in December 2018 after six years as the Cowboy head coach to pursue a position in the private sector.
This is Plucienski’s first head coaching position. He spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at UL-Lafayette. Before that, Plucienski worked as the Tournament and Operations Manager for the Gulf States Section in 2016 and 2017. Prior to that, he spent just over a year working as the Tournament Operations Director of the APT Professional Golf Tour. On the course, Plucienski will have to replace three graduating seniors, including Blake Elliott, who was named the Louisiana and Southland Conference Golfer of the Year. He did confirm that he will retain volunteer assistant coach Billy Gabbert and there won’t be any other coaching hires as of now.
The Southern Mississippi graduate did play almost two years of professional golf.
The American Press reached Plucienski on the phone to ask him some questions.
David Berry: What drew you to the head coaching position at McNeese?
Derek Plucienski: Being a Louisiana-native and wanting to be a Division I coach, dream come true. Receiving this opportunity to be a head coach in my home state and at the Division I level.
DB: You haven’t been on the job too long. What do you think of the roster you have going into the 2019-20 season?
DP: We definitely lost some experience at the top of the lineup with three seniors graduating. But looking forward to the three freshman coming in and stepping up, and looking forward to our returners stepping up. Because we’ve definitely got some big shoes to fill. But I’ve got the utmost confidence in this team and we’ve got really solid players coming in.
DB: As far as recruiting goes, did you keep the recruits signed for the 2019 class or will you be recruiting for the class over the summer?
DP: The three that signed last fall (Greg Holmes, Rick Frauenberger, and Louis Talarczyk), they are coming. I’m honoring what was promised to them. I’m not just doing that just to do it. I believe in these three young men coming in. I believe that they can help us, and they are going to help us. Going forward recruiting, I’ll be heavily focused on the classes of 2020 and beyond.
DB: It was a weird time for you to be hired since the kids are gone for summer break. Were you able to meet the team? And if not, have you been able to get in contact with all of the players?
DP: I’ve reached out to all eight, and we’ve either communicated via telephone or Skype, FaceTime, however you want to call that. But yes, I’ve had an opportunity to speak with every one of them.
DB: With a relatively short amount of time before the fall semester starts for the 2019-20 school year, what are your plans for the next few months?
DP: Finalizing our tournament schedule for the upcoming season. Finalizing and making all of our equipment orders as far as apparel, golf bags, everything. Head to toe, and whatever equipment needs we may have. Definitely going to be recruiting some, from here. Louisiana, Texas, and plan on going overseas next month to recruit at the European Boys’ Team Championship.
DB: Being so busy, will you take any time off over the summer?
DP: I don’t think so. There’s a lot to do and I’ve got to be here to make sure we’re ready to go in August. Especially for these eight young men that are about to come in and represent McNeese.