L: Submitted Photo, R: Andree Kehn/Sun Journal
As Bates athletics attempt to regain a sense of normality that was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, new golf hires Brendon Croteau and Abigail Spector hope to use their experience to bring growth and success for the Bobcats on the links.
When Brendon Croteau was a student at Lewiston High School in 2016, he frequently took note of the Bates golfers he would see at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, Maine.
“I was always impressed with Bates golfers. I knew they had a good program and always thought it would be fun to play for them,” Croteau said.
Although he envisioned playing alongside the Bobcats, Croteau never imagined he would ever be coaching them, especially at such a young age.
“I never really envisioned myself coaching at this young of an age. I thought I would be doing it more as a retirement gig, but instead it worked out to be a great starting position for me.”
Croteau recently graduated from University of Southern Maine in 2020 with a bachelors in Sports Management and recently interned under Athletic Director Jason Fein before coming on as an assistant golf coach in spring 2021.
Croteau comes to Bates as one of the youngest coaches in the history of the program. Despite this, he sees his youthfulness and his experience at the collegiate level to be one of his greatest strengths.
“I would say that my youth is more of a benefit than a flaw,” he said. “I may not have as much experience of coaching, but I have the experience of playing for a college program. I was able to learn a lot from my college coach. He has been coaching for 25+ years, and his knowledge and experience has helped me through this experience.”
With their season opener this weekend, Croteau plans to devote special attention to the mental aspects of the game.
“The biggest thing for them is game management and mental toughness. I am there as a constant reminder to play smart and control your mindset. I will help with swing tweaks and fundamentals, but my main focus is to make sure they play smart and have good mental toughness.”
Abigail Spector, the new women’s golf director, also had never considered a career in coaching collegiate golf at this time.
“I never thought I would have time,” said Spector, “but when the Bates job presented itself, I couldn’t say no.”
Spector, like Croteau, brings four years of collegiate golf to the table, having played four years at the University of North Carolina.
However, what sets Spector apart from the competition is her lengthy experience in professional instruction. For the last six years, Spector has run her own business at Riverside golf course in Portland. At Riverside, Spector gave seven clinics per week with anywhere between 10 and 15 people in them, along with many private lessons.
Spector is looking forward to using her prior coaching experience to help the women’s golf team grow as student athletes.
“Working with a small group of 6 college golfers who are great players has been a lot of fun already. I am looking forward to getting to know the girls better and helping them develop as golfers and young adults.”
Although both Bates golf squads struggled in each of their last full seasons, Spector hopes the new normality will bring success.
“The world feels a little more normal and I know the girls on the team are excited to get back into a ‘normal’ routine,” said Spector
The new leadership at the helm of the golf program is motivated and ready to bring success back to the Bates golf program.
“As young as we are, I expect us to only get better with experience”, said Croteau
As the world of athletics returns to a state of normality not seen in eighteen months, be sure to keep an eye out for both Croteau and Spector as they build the Bobcat golf program and mentor a great group of young athletes.