Caroline Westrup’s journey in coaching was almost orderly from the start. After all, his father Charlie made a career out of it, running the Norwegian Golf Association from the age of 11, moving the family from Sweden.

“I just see what he’s done with the players and how much they appreciate him and dedicate their careers to him,” Westrup said. “It’s been very inspiring to see what he’s done.”

Now Westrup is responsible for leading the Missouri women’s golf team as the new head coach. She takes over after her predecessor Stephanie Priesmeyer moved into a developmental role in United athletics after leading the program since the 2000-01 season.

Westrup spent last season as an assistant at Georgia, where she went after beginning her coaching career at the IMG Academy in Florida. She started coaching after ending her professional career in 2018.

Now, she’s said she’s open to trying to move the Tigers forward through the SEC and has inherited some traits from her father to help her along.

“Just being a leader, a vocal leader,” Westrup said. “And building relationships, making sure you know your student-athletes on a personal level, not just on a golf level, is really important.”

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Still, Westrup said expectations would be high for the Tigers.

“Being a tough coach, sort of with tough love,” Westrup said of her coaching style. “Always take care of the student-athletes, but don’t try to sugarcoat them. I will be very direct and say how it is.

Westrup has big goals for the program. The Tigers have never finished better than eighth in the SEC tournament and finished 14th last year.

Within five years, Westrup said she wants to see the program grow nationally.

“Hopefully we’re up there and really competitive in the SEC, we play in national championships every year and are up there vying to be able to win a national championship,” Westrup said.

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She has the support of athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois, who released a statement praising Westrup during the hiring announcement.

“Coach Westrup’s determination, tactical expertise and recruiting abilities stood out from an impressive group,” said Reed-Francois. “Her extensive experience and success as an amateur and professional golfer, along with her methodical approach, focus on her student-athletes, and ability to build community made the difference during the research process.”

Westrup said it will focus on recruiting international players as part of its strategy to boost the program. She has experience in the field, having herself come to the United States to attend Florida State from 2005 to 2009.

She found success in Tallahassee, was a four-time All-American, and was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. She built on amateur success into a professional career, competing in the LPGA among other professional tours.

“I know what it takes to reach the highest level,” Westrup said. “I am very, very competitive. I just want to change the culture of the women’s program a bit.

Matt Stahl is the Missouri sports reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.