Hall of Fame coach retires after 27 years

The end of the women’s golf season this year also brought with it the end of a reign by one of the longest-tenured Hurricane coaches.

Lela Cannon stepped down as head coach of the women’s golf team after 27 years.

Among her remarkable accomplishments were five state championships and a national championship in her first year with UM.

The Hall of Fame coach announced her decision to retire in November.

“I really have enjoyed my time at the University,” she said back in December. “The University of Miami has been my home for the last 27 years, and I will continue to support the Hurricanes.”

Heading into the season, the squad was relatively young, with three freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors making up the roster.

However, the team did have its fair share of success as the season progressed.

The Hurricanes finished eighth out of 17 teams at the Hurricane Invitational in February.

It also took first place at the Edwin Watts/Kiawah Classic, the largest collegiate women’s tournament, for the second straight year.

Miami ended its season in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., where the Hurricanes placed eighth out of nine teams, finishing just ahead of Boston College.

Rising junior Begona Sarabia recorded the best score for the Canes, finishing at 21-over par.

Taking over the reins for the Hurricanes will be Patti Rizzo, a former UM All-American and 20-year veteran on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

She comes in after coaching Barry University for five seasons, leading them to a top -10 national ranking in each of her five years.

“I’m extremely excited. I’ve been dreaming of this opportunity,” Rizzo said in April. “I started my career at the University of Miami and things have come full circle where I have the chance to finish up where I started.

“I am so appreciative of the support from my family, friends and the people at Miami. I am just so thrilled to be back.”

The golf team starts the new season in mid-September.

Information for this article was compiled from hurricanesports.com.

Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at esuarez@themiamihurricane.com.