Sarah Burnham to replace Gaudio as women’s golf coach

It was a historic season for the Oakland University women’s golf team last year. After a number of fall and spring tournaments, the Golden Grizzlies capped off the 2021-22 season with a Horizon League Championship. 

The fearsome trio of Amalia Shahzan, Nateda Her and Ashley Chin led Oakland to the title. The trio helped the Golden Grizzlies to a relaxing finish as no other Horizon League team finished within nine strokes. 

Not only did the players highlight the team, but head coach Alyssa Gaudio won the Horizon League Coach of the Year award based on her incredible efforts which helped the Golden Grizzlies to the conference championship. 

However, the program announced back in March that Gaudio, who was the first women’s golf coach in school history, would retire at the end of the 2021-22 season. 

Gaudio gave her departing remarks in a statement to the athletic department.

“For the last seven and a half years, Oakland has been my home and my players have become my family. It is with a heavy heart that I am stepping away from coaching, but continuing to build my family,” Gaudio said. “My husband, daughter and I will be moving to Illinois to be closer to family, and eagerly await the birth of our son this July.” 

Steve Waterfield, the Director of Athletics, gave his thoughts on Gaudio’s departure as well.

“I appreciate Alyssa’s leadership and contributions to Golden Grizzlies athletics. Over the past seven and a half years, Alyssa led teams and student-athletes to championship success while building a culture that helped foster student-athlete excellence and personal development,” Waterfield said. “Though she will be missed, I am very happy for her and her family as they move to Illinois and start another chapter in their family journey. I wish them all much happiness and success in the years to come.”

Waterfield was tasked with finding a qualified replacement for Gaudio, and on Friday, July 1, he announced Oakland’s intentions to hire Sarah Burnham.

Burnham was an impressively accomplished golfer in her time at Michigan State University. She played four seasons with the Spartans where she racked up many accolades.

She was a three-time All-American as well as a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year. 

Burnham spent time on the LPGA tour before becoming an assistant coach with the Bowling Green State men’s and women’s golf teams. 

“I’m excited to welcome Sarah Burnham as the next women’s golf coach for the Golden Grizzlies. Sarah brings an impressive pedigree to our program and I have no doubt will continue to build upon the successes we’ve had,” said Oakland Director of Men’s and Women’s Golf Nick Pumford, “She will also be a great leader and will cultivate the student-athlete experience for our young women. The future of Golden Grizzlies Women’s Golf is in great hands.”

Burnham gave her thoughts on her first head coaching position as well.

“I’m honored to be a part of the Golden Grizzlies and be named the new Women’s Golf Head Coach. It means a lot to have an opportunity to work with student-athletes and help grow the program at such a great university. My goal for every athlete is to become champions on and off the golf course,” said Burnham.

Burnham is bound to bring a high level of knowledge and expertise to an Oakland women’s golf team that is coming off of a championship season.