Mid-July and we’re still going strong with our Throwback Thursday series to keep you up to date on some of your favorite Virginia athletes of all time. This week we’re joined by 2016 alumna Lauren Coughlin, who was on the Virginia Women’s Golf team from 2011-2016, during which time she earned second team All-American honors as a senior.
In her senior season, she was named won the ACC individual title and led the Hoos in seven of 11 tournaments. The team earned an impressive fifth-place finish at the NCAA championships, and Lauren finished 16th individually.
The two-time All-ACC golfer caught up with us to recount some of her favorite memories and places in Charlottesville—including a wedding proposal from now-husband and former UVA football player John Pond on the same day that Lauren won her ACC title.
Streaking the Lawn: Golf or otherwise, what are some of the highlights of what you’ve done since UVA, and what are you doing now?
Lauren Coughlin: I got married in 2018 to my wonderful husband and former UVA Football player, John Pond. We got married in the UVA Chapel and our reception was in the Colonnade Club (Pavilion VII). It was a very UVA wedding. My coach’s husband married us, most of my bridesmaids were former teammates of mine. My husband works for the University in development, so we still reside in Charlottesville. We go to every football game and basketball game I can when I am in town. It’s usually only a couple for me, since I travel roughly 30 weeks a year. In terms of golf, I turned professional right after I graduated and I play on the LPGA and the Symetra Tours.
STL: While we’re still mostly quarantined and socially distanced, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy and/or entertained?
LC: Luckily, golf is an outdoor sport and courses have stayed relatively open even during quarantine. So I’ve been playing a bunch in town at courses like Greene Hills and Spring Creek. I’ve also watched a ton of Netflix and I play Call of Duty on the Playstation as much as possible.
STL: Have you been able to keep up with any training?
LC: I was in Houston when quarantine started in March and golf courses never closed there. My parents live there now, and I go there usually January-April to get ready for the season. I came back to Cville the first week of May and have been here since. So I have been able to keep up on the golf course, but strength/conditioning has been a lot harder. I have some adjustable dumbbells and a spin bike (just ordered a Peloton and I can’t wait to get it!), so I was able to stay in pretty decent shape. Gyms in Virginia opened back up a few weeks ago, and so I joined a local gym that is taking major precautions, which is great because I can finally lift again. Normally, I can lift at McCue but who knows when/if I will be allowed back there.
STL: If you could have been an athlete in another sport at Virginia, which would you choose, and would you be a starter?
LC: Prior to UVA, I didn’t know much about lacrosse, but now I love watching it. I watch anytime UVA is playing. So if I could choose another sport it definitely would be lacrosse. I’ve never played it, so for sure would not be a starter.
STL: What is your favorite UVA sports memory, either as a fan or a player?
LC: I have two. First, would definitely be my last ACC Championship my fifth year. We won back to back championships, I won individually for my first college win, and during the awards ceremony John proposed. It was an amazing day to say the least! Second, is the whole 2019 UVA season: Men’s Basketball Natty, Men’s Lacrosse Natty, and football beating Tech!
STL: Which coach or professor had the greatest impact on you while at UVA?
LC: My coach, Kim Lewellen, and assistant coach, Brian Bailie, both had the greatest impact on me while at UVA. They both still do. I have no doubt in my mind if not for them, I never would have made it on to the LPGA Tour. They pushed me to be better and work hard every single day. I still work with both of them on my golf. Kim and her husband, also named John, help me with my golf swing. Brian helps me with short game, advice, and my stats in order to help me practice the right stuff. If I ever need anything, all three of them will be there. I am eternally grateful for them.
STL: Do you have any career advice for current students or recent alumni?
LC: My advice would be to take advantage of the services offered both by the athletic department and the University as a whole when thinking of life after sports. UVA has so many talented professionals who are invested in your success and want to help you. Those resources are important and can help you with many different things after college.
STL: What do you see that current UVA student-athletes have on Grounds that you wish you had? (facilities, resources, coach, etc.)
LC: The new UVA Golf facility is incredible. I am super jealous of the current student-athletes. When I was there, my car was my locker and we would hit into a net in what used to be called “The Cage”. Now they have a locker room, heated hitting bays, indoor putting studio, and so much more. Also, the newly renovated Birdwood and short game area is incredible. While the short game area was good before, this new one is even better and the golf course is going to be a great course to challenge the girls to get better.
STL: What is your favorite Charlottesville restaurant?
LC: For breakfast it has to be Moose’s By The Creek. If the homemade blueberry french toast is on special, just order it.
Duner’s is definitely our favorite for a nice night out. John and I always go to there for anniversaries/birthdays.
My guilty pleasure is the Lazy Parrot. Best happy hour/wings in Charlottesville.
STL: Bonus question from our TBT alumnus from last week, Cory Alexander: What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you on Grounds?
LC: My go-to food in between 9 holes is a hotdog for lunch. At ACC’s my fourth year, I was walking to the tenth tee after I got my hot dog and went for a bite only to drop it on the ground. It got ketchup all on my white golf shirt and I had to have John go get me another one. He finally caught up on the 11th hole. We had to play 27 holes that day, and had to wear that white shirt with ketchup on it for the next 18 holes.