Michael Cipoletti is heavily involved on the academic side at Waynesburg University as an assistant professor of forensic science. More was added to his plate earlier this year, however, when he was named the head men’s golf coach.
Q: What made you initially want to take the men’s head coaching job?
I didn’t ask. I didn’t seek it out, it kind of sought me out a little bit. I’d had conversations with coach [Sam] Jones in the past about helping him out with the men’s team if he needed it because I knew he had a lot of time in trying to coach two sports. The conversation went to the new athletic director [Adam Jack]. We started discussing it more formally and found a way to make it work, where I could work and coach the men and still do my faculty responsibilities. On the other side, I’ve been golfing since I was a young teenager and have a passion for it. I love being around golf, I love watching golf, playing golf and teaching people how to golf.
Q: Have you had any coaching experience in the past?
I’ve coached a lot of different sports in the past. I’ve never coached at the college level before. But I played basketball, football and baseball prior to college. I’ve coached all of those sports, in addition to doing some golf coaching with youth. This is my first foray into college coaching, other than helping like an unofficial volunteer type.
Q: What were your expectations like coming into this first season, for yourself and the team?
Expectations for myself were to just get to know these athletes and figure out where they were skillswise and what their goals were… I looked at all their stats, I saw where they finished last year and I saw they had made some pretty good improvements from the year before. I assumed they would be able to make some progress over where they finished last year. And so far, early in the season, that’s been the case, they’ve made progress. I can’t take credit for that, what I hope to do going forward is [to] help them keep taking steps, shaving strokes off their game, understanding their game better.
Q: Has your experience in the forensic science field helped with your coaching?
Yeah, data analytics, problem solving. Because what we do in my academic field is really trying to drill down to the root causes of a problem so you can figure out a solution. The biggest golf geeks in the world are really scientists. There’s a lot of data that can go into a golf swing like launch angle, swing speeds, and weighting the club. There’s a lot of connections between my academics and golfing. You take a scientific approach and you can really start to drill down to how can we improve this guy’s swing mechanics.
Q: Being a professor and a coach, how do you balance teaching work and coaching?
It comes down to putting in a lot of extra hours, organization and time management. Similar to student athletes, I’m trying to teach these guys about time management because they’re trying to juggle being a full-time student with putting in all the time for athletics. But I wouldn’t be coaching if it wasn’t something I wasn’t passionate about.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of this season going into next season?
I really want us to start getting into form for the first two rounds of [Presidents’ Athletic Conference] Championships. These guys need to really focus in on playing their best round, getting their best score, or if they’re not playing their best day, grind out their best scores on that particular day. We need to find out who our best five or six guys are heading into PACs. The guys need to put in work over the wintertime, in the simulator, working on their mechanics to prepare for the spring season.