SA's Simsiriwong inks with Marshall
Korakot Simsiriwong (center) shakes hands with her golf hitting instructor Tony Luczak (left) and her sister Jutima looks on. Simsiriwong signed with Marshall University last week to play golf and made her decision public on Thursday. Korakot was selected MAIS Female Golfer of the Year in the spring ofÂ 2010. (Sandra Gladney/For The Daily News)
By DANNY P. SMITH
Korakot Simsiriwong has always been on the move.
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Whether it was coming to Starkville from her native Thailand, or traveling to golf tournaments in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, Simsiriwong's life has been a journey.
The road to success in golf has taken another turn as the Starkville Academy Volunteer senior signed to continue her career at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
Simsiriwong actually put her name in writing with the Thundering Herd on Nov. 10, but made her decision public on Thursday at the Starkville Academy media center with her sister Jutima, hitting instructor Tony Luczak, SA officials and friends lending support.
It only took one visit to the Marshall campus for Simsiriwong to fall in love with the environment and said the distance wasn't an issue.
"I was already half way around the world so I figured why not?" Simsiriwong said. "(Marshall) is quite a difference than Starkville, but I just loved the college. They have the program that I want, a great golf coach and great team. That was the most important thing."
Luczak was surprised to learn that Simsiriwong chose Marshall, but knew the facility and coaches there made an impression upon her. She was also recruited by Louisiana-Monroe and other schools.
The key to continued improvement of Simsiriwong's golf game at the next level, Luczak says, will be her continued work ethic.
"She can go as far as she wants and that's going to be her decision," Luczak said. "It just takes work.
"I know we've talked back and forth about the importance of academics, playing professional golf and how does that balance. Obviously for me, academics is always more important because you never know when injuries happen. For her, she could not make a wrong decision on any other school as long as academics comes first because golf will always be there."
Simsiriwong said Luczak has been instrumental in her development.
"My golf swing is looking awesome," Simsiriwong said. "We have been working three or four years. He is a great golf coach and we'd go out there and practice. We'll keep in touch and I'll send him video and email and such."
Simsiriwong spends quite a bit of time learning from Luczak at the Mississippi State golf course and her only regret about leaving will be not seeing the new practice facility when completed.
As the new golf coach at Starkville Academy, Chris Lyle will only have Simsiriwong's services for one year. He understands what it means to have a player with her talents on a team.
"Anytime you have a Division I athlete in any sport, it's a tremendous honor to be a part of that
and be able to coach it," Lyle said. "She has worked extremely hard on her game and deserves this by far. It's going to be exciting for me, no doubt about it, and it will make my job a lot easier, especially as a first year coach."