A pair of national berths and a Coach of the Year award cap off 2017 Heat golf season.

After a pair of tournament wins to open the season for the UBC Okanagan men’s golf team, they put together two consecutive second-place finishes in the last two tournaments of the season. With strong Sunday play at the Ledgeview Golf Club on October 8, the Heat men bounced back from a rough first round and pulled together to lock up a spot at the national tournament with an overall second-place PACWEST finish.

The Heat women’s team finished second at each of the four tournaments this season. They closed out in Abbotsford as well at Ledgeview, making Sunday, October 8 a successful day for the Heat program on the coast. The 2017 PING CCAA Golf National Championships will be hosted by Durham College and will be played October 17-20 at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club in Oshawa, Ontario.

“He’s a great friend and someone who has helped me grow as a person as well.” – James Casorso on coach Cass Hritzuk

On top of that pair of second-place finishes that earned both the men’s and women’s golf teams a shot at a national golf title, the Heat golf program’s head coach Cass Hritzuk was named PACWEST Coach of the Year. The award is voted on by the conference’s golf coaches and was given to Hritzuk at the close of the tournament in Abbotsford on Sunday. It is the first time that Cass Hritzuk has been recognized as Coach of the Year in the PACWEST conference.

“Cass is one of the most genuine and honest people I know,” said Heat men’s golf standout James Casorso, who was UBC Okanagan’s lone representative at last year’s national golf championship. “In the last five years he’s been a fantastic coach and has become very respected in our league. He always knows how to get the best out of me in any situation. In situations where I’m frustrated he manages to find ways to 1) get me laughing and 2) get me fired up to finish the round strong.” Casorso, who has been with the Heat program as long as Hritzuk, believes the recognition for his coach is well deserved, continuing, “aside from helping with my game, he’s able to instil belief in each one of us that makes us want to play better golf.” Speaking about his coach outside of golf, Casorso closed by saying, “Off the course, Cass is easily one of the funniest people to be around. He does a great job of making sure everyone on the team feel comfortable and looked after, while still keeping the mood light. He’s a great friend and someone who has helped me grow as a person as well.”

Fourth-year Heat golfer Emily Adams, adding her praise for Hritzuk’s ability to improve the experience of a PACWEST tournament for his players, said, “Cass is an awesome coach. He’s always able to make me laugh and a really great person to be around. He can look at my swing when I’m struggling and suggest I make a small adjustment to improve my game. I couldn’t imagine having a different coach for the last four years.” Speaking to her coach’s personality as an asset, Adams also said of Hritzuk, “He’s also a phenomenal singer which makes road trips a lot more fun.”